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RIP the Champions League on ESPN


Back on the 13th of June beIN Sports presenter Adriano Del Monte announced, via his Twitter account, that his company had secured the rights to broadcast the UEFA Champions League in Australia. My heart sank. I knew that it almost certainly meant the end for Europe’s premiere football competition on New Zealand TV. The rights for Australia and New Zealand are packaged up together. Our ESPN is Australian ESPN so if something is not on ESPN in Australia, dollars to doughnuts it won’t be on here.

My spirits lifted slightly the next day when I noticed that Del Monte had deleted the tweet. Had he jumped the gun? Sadly it appears not according to the last page of this document, titled ‘Media rights sales: 2015-18 UEFA Champions League™/UEFA Super Cup‘, which I found on the UEFA website today:

UEFA TV Rights

Soooooooooo do we care? I know I do. A great deal. It’s just my luck that, after two looooong seasons in the wilderness, Roma finally got back into a competition I can watch reliably and legally and now the goalposts have shifted! It genuinely upsets me that I can’t watch my team except on dodgy illegal streams. I sincerely believe that watching one’s favourite football team, especially when it is competing on one of the world’s biggest stages, is a fundamental human right.

Once again, New Zealand is at risk of proving itself, beyond all doubt, to be a footballing backwater. One of the few places on earth where one of the biggest competitions in the world is unavailable to watch.

Or will somebody step in to put this right?

Surely Premier League Pass will attempt to do a deal with beIN to show the games on their platform? I contacted them today to ask if they were seeking the rights to show the UEFA Champions League in New Zealand but as yet they have not replied to my message.

Whatever happens, I don’t imagine Sky will be in any hurry to secure the rights for Sky Sport given their track record with football. I am done with them. With the Champions League gone they no longer have any content that interests me outside of the World Cup and Euros, and they have treated me poorly in the past, so they get no loyalty from me and I will be cancelling my subscription.

And having done that I might have to give serious consideration to moving to a more civilised country, like Antarctica or somewhere, where I am sure one would have no worse access to the world’s most popular game than we do here.


Still no reply to my message but Premier League Pass have deigned to reply to Patrick Barnes of Yellow Fever’s tweet on the subject subsequent to my post:


The response doesn’t inspire much confidence…

I have also been told by a source that beIN Sport are possibly getting a channel on the Sky platform in the not too distant future.

It would be quite good if a proper journo could follow up with the players in this. They all seem quite happy ignoring my inquiries at the moment.

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots football enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent club on earth - A.S. Roma. More info (including e-mail address) can be found here:

1 reply

  1. All of a sudden skys monopoly doesn’t look like such a bad thing. Games didn’t just drop out or stop or look like mine craft and were actually in HD. (I have fibre but Plp is a complete dogFor me) I’m a Spurs supporter so it’s not like I’m missing them in the CL but this while breaking up of the tv rights is now doing my head in. I like to watch league, football and cricket and I now face paying 2 if not more suppliers to watch the sports I want to.

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