Lenny Daniels on Turner Sports' New UEFA Partnership

21 Aug 2017 - By TW Staff

This post originally appeared on the Turner blog

Turner and UEFA, the governing body of European football, announced a three-year multi-platform rights agreement for the exclusive presentation of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League beginning with the 2018-19 season. Turner Sports President Lenny Daniels shares the details on the new partnership and what it means for the company.

Why is now the right time for Turner to partner with UEFA?
World football is exploding in popularity in the U.S., particularly these marquee UEFA matches, and it fits perfectly with our goals to invest in original video content across our collective portfolio. Premium live sports continue to be a key part of our programming and business strategy. Timed to this deal, we are also announcing the creation of a new standalone premium sports streaming service set to launch in 2018. This three-year multi-platform agreement with UEFA, and the new OTT sports service, will allow us to engage with passionate fans whenever and wherever they choose to consume our premium content.

What are the key components to this new deal with UEFA?
Turner will be the exclusive media partner in the United States for English-language coverage of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, two of the most popular sporting events in the world. Overall, we will present more than 340 UEFA matches per year across our television and digital platforms. Matches will be offered directly to fans through Turner’s new premium OTT sports platform, with Bleacher Report serving as a portal to the OTT service and the live UEFA matches. Live matches will also be regularly televised across TBS, TNT and/or truTV throughout the length of the deal.

Bleacher Report, in particular, will also provide extensive, year-round UEFA clips and original content, including shoulder and ancillary programming, across its full suite of products and its popular accounts on various social media platforms.

This is truly a partnership that will fuel all of our businesses, with content extended across all platforms, and I’d like to especially recognize David Levy for all of his support in making this deal happen, and the exhaustive efforts of our senior leadership team including Matt Hong, Val Immele, Tina Shah, Dan Granik and Kevin Glidewell for their roles in seeing this deal through to its completion.  

How will Turner and UEFA further elevate world football in the U.S.?
That’s really the spirit of this partnership. We are committed to leveraging the full reach of Turner’s portfolio, and the deep connection our leading brands have established with highly-engaged millennial audiences, to further grow world football in the U.S. When you look at the numbers, Turner’s portfolio reaches close to 80% of American adults each month across television, digital and mobile platforms, including more than 70% of all millennials. While other media companies are aging up, we are the only media company getting younger, thanks to our growing reach among millennials. 

Can you tell us more about the creation of Turner’s new OTT sports platform?
We will launch a new premium OTT sports platform in 2018 with these UEFA matches serving as a key foundation for the new service. This is the latest example of our company’s continued strategy to innovate beyond the traditional TV ecosystem as we provide premium viewing experiences that drive engagement across all platforms. This UEFA deal and the development of a sports streaming product will allow for us to reach new audiences, while simultaneously driving value to all of our partners.