UEFA has agreed to a deal for the U.S. media rights for the European club competitions that will see the men's Champions League, Europa League, and Conference League continue to be broadcast on Paramount for the next six years.
"UEFA has been a key driver for Paramount+ since our launch and we are thrilled to extend this successful partnership showcasing even more world-class soccer through the 2029-30 season, building on the incredible momentum we have created the past two years," said Sean McManus, CBS Sports Chairman. "UEFA is a perfect example of our differentiated strategy presenting marquee properties to drive and strengthen both our streaming and traditional linear businesses. This multiplatform approach allows us to leverage the power of Paramount Global to reach the broadest possible audience and elevate and grow the reach of UEFA in the United States. We look forward to continuing to provide soccer fans CBS Sports' best-in class coverage that our viewers expect."
The deal makes CBS Sports your home for the UEFA Champions League finals through the 2029-30 season with games available to stream on Paramount+ and select matches available to broadcast on CBS Sports Network and CBS. The new contract will start in the 2024 season which will also see Champions League move to the Swiss model as it undergoes a revamp.
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What is the Swiss model?
The Swiss model will see the Champions League almost doubling in size moving from 125 total games per season to 225 with extra matchdays also being added. The total number of teams will also be raised from 32 to 36 Instead of the teams being in eight groups, they'll now be in one single table playing at least ten games. It's a tournament model frequently used in chess and implemented to create balanced fixture lists for each team.
Fixtures are to be determined based on four pots of nine teams. Each team will play 10 teams to create fixture pools of equal strength. While each team will have five home matches and five away matches, each match will be against a different team instead of the current home and away group stage circuit. Teams from the same association will still be unable to play each other in the group stage.
Based on points, the top eight teams in the table at the end of the group stage will qualify directly for the round of 16 while the clubs finishing from ninth to 24th will go into two legged playoffs. The playoff winners will complete the round of 16 while the losers will drop to Europa League. Teams finishing lower than 24th will be eliminated from Europe. These changes will also be coming to Europa League and the Conference League although they may not increase in size.
The additional fixtures and better chances for smaller teams will only increase the excitement in matches available on Paramount+. Instead of minnows only playing teams like Real Madrid, Dortmund, and Sporting CP they'll also get a chance to face off against teams of similar statures providing thrilling upsets and a better chance of making the knockout stages. Additionally, the format provides more instances of the world's biggest clubs facing each other before the knockout stage. Eliminating the home and away fixtures will also give smaller teams a chance to get points off of larger sides at their home ground without having to travel to face them in a rematch.