Turner announced last week its plans to launch a standalone premium sports domestic streaming video service set to debut in 2018, as the media conglomerate will have a home for its collection of UEFA matches after also announcing a three-year rights agreement with the UEFA starting from 2018/19 season.
Bleacher Report, the sports website owned by Turner, will serve as a portal to the OTT service and carry live UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League matches offered through the new platform as well as year-round UEFA video clips and original content.
Turner as the exclusive media partner in the U.S. for English-language coverage will present more than 340 UEFA matches per season across television and digital platforms, including live matches regularly televised on TBS, TNT and truTV. That includes four live telecasts each week throughout the Group Stage and Knockout Phase with 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. ET telecasts on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The UEFA Champions League final, all semifinal matches, UEFA Europa League Final and UEFA Super Cup will be televised on TBS or TNT.
All other matches and UEFA Europa League matches will be available live through Turner’s new OTT sports platform launching in 2018, including access via Bleacher Report. Bleacher Report will also have content for its social media channels.
The announcement of Turner’s OTT sports platform comes the week after Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said that the first ESPN-branded direct-to-consumer service will be available in early 2018 and that the first year will include about 10,000 live sports including Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, Grand Slam tennis and college sports.
It was announced in June that this season, NBC Sports Digital is having its direct-to-consumer live streaming product NBC Gold launch Premier League Pass to give fans in the U.S. access to 130 live Premier League matches for $49.99.
Turner is also aiming to capitalize on the rising popularity in the U.S. in world football.
“The launch of Turner’s new OTT sports platform and partnership with UEFA aligns with the company’s continued strategy to further expand the distribution ecosystem and our ongoing commitment to engage fans with premium content they crave across all platforms,” Turner president David Levy said in a statement. “These highly-anticipated matches and supplemental original programming will be a key foundation for our latest direct to consumer business sports offering, as well as coveted content for Bleacher Report and our leading television networks. In addition to the new audiences we’ll attract through the streaming service, the partnership will leverage the tremendous reach we have with our television networks and Bleacher Report’s position as the leading digital destination for millennial fans.”