Turner Sports has acquired the rights to show the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League in the United States for $60 million annually for the next three years. This ends FOX Sports’ time as the premier European football competition’s flagship broadcaster. This news may be exciting to you, especially if you hate Eric Wynalda as much as I do, but I can assure you that this is a disaster for soccer fans in the US.
Turner unveiled their plans for how they intend to squeeze American soccer fans for every penny they have Thursday morning. Their plan is to launch an online, subscription-based, streaming service that will broadcast the matches and only show 60 of the 340 annual Champions League group stage and knockout round games on television.
If you don’t understand what that means let me explain it for you: Turner is going to make you pay to watch games online that FOX showed on television. FOX’s streaming service ‘Fox Sports Go’ was also included with the cable package at no extra charge, so you could already stream matches just fine. What all this means is that instead of kicking back and watching the games on your big TV you will have to watch the Champions League on your phone or your laptop and pay extra for the privilege to do so.
Instead of thanking those of us who still have a cable package, the people that make the Turner networks exist, Turner is trying to take us, their customers, for everything we have. I’m issuing a call to action here. As long as Turner charges for their streaming service, do not use it, do not pay for it. There are ways to watch these games without giving a greedy, exploitative, corporate machine your hard-earned money. Find a sketchy steaming site, go on Reddit or a forum site, even listen to the matches on the radio. Just do anything except give these bastards your money. Together, we can make them change the way they do business or make them lose enough money where they sell the rights back to FOX or ESPN or another network that isn’t trying to exploit us.