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Updated Feb 18, 2021; Posted March 04, 2021. magin rapinoe. CBS has acquired U.S. broadcast and streaming rights for the UEFA Champions League, according to Sports Business Journal. Spanish-language TV network Univision will also retain the rights to broadcast the soccer competition in Spanish in the U.S., which it has held since last year.
The combined package between CBS and Univision will be worth about $150 million per year and will last for three years according to SBJ. The deal will run from the fall of 2021 through the spring of 2024. CBS plans to air Champions League matches on its main broadcast channel, the CBS Sports Network cable channel and its CBS All-Access OTT streaming service.
CBS All-Access has eight million subscribers. Though it has a deal to livestream NFL games, it is mostly known for its entertainment programming outside of sports. As comparison, The Walt Disney Company recently announced that ESPN+ had reached 3.5 million subscribers.
The UEFA Champions League is widely perceived to be the top club-competition in World soccer. Turner signed a three-season deal to broadcast it in the U.S. in 2018. That deal currently sees most matches appear on Turner’s B/R Live streaming service.
Turner reportedly made a bid to keep the English-language rights for the Champions League, but was outbid by CBS. According to SBJ, ESPN, NBC Sports Group, and Fox Sports also made bids to secure Champions League rights.Dish TV Integrates DraftKings Sports Betting App
By Andrew Cohen
March 4, 2021
A new deal will see DraftKings integrate its sports betting and daily fantasy apps into Dish Network TV platforms—an industry-leading move that could become the future of sports betting’s integration across media networks.
The deal is initially limited to Dish TV Hopper customers but will expand to include the Dish-owned Sling TV and Boost Mobile platforms. Hopper customers can now access the DraftKings app on their TV screens to place bets, view live odds, or enter fantasy contests using their remote. Users can watch live or recorded sports and have the DraftKings app open for split-screen viewing.
Once a bet or fantasy contest is entered, users will receive a text message alerting them to complete their transaction via the DraftKings mobile app on their phones. Dish TV users can only place bets if they’re located in a state where DraftKings has launched its mobile sportsbook.
While Dish TV integrates DraftKings, streaming TV app FuboTV is also planning to add sports betting into its TV experience. The company expects to launch its Fubo Sportsbook in Q4 of this year and announced a partnership with Caesars Entertainment on Wednesday to gain market access in Indiana and New Jersey.
FANSMEDIA & PLATFORMSTEAMS & LEAGUES
Premier Lacrosse League Moves Games to Peacock Premium
By Zoe Strozewski
March 4, 2021
NBCUniversal streaming service Peacock has secured rights to stream all 43 games from the 2021 Premier Lacrosse League season. Peacock Premium tier subscribers can exclusively watch 23 PLL games in addition to 20 other games that will simultaneously air on NBC and NBCSN.
The Premier Lacrosse League streaming and television schedules have not yet been released, but Peacock expects to announce more coverage details before the PLL season begins on June 4. Peacock users will also be able to watch games on-demand from the PLL Championship Series played last summer.
Last season, NBC Sports Gold gave fans access to live coverage and content through Premier Lacrosse League Pass subscriptions. Because the content is moving completely to Peacock, these subscriptions will not auto-renew and end on April 1, according to NBC Sports.
This will be the Premier Lacrosse League’s first season with eight teams since having merged with Major League Lacrosse in December.
ATHLETESINVESTMENTS & PARTNERSHIPSWEARABLES & SENSORS
Cipher Skin Lands $5 Million Series A Funding Round
By Joe Lemire
March 4, 2021
Smart apparel company Cipher Skin has announced a $5 million Series A funding round that builds off a $1.5 million grant from the Department of Defense last summer.
Cipher Skin tracks a user’s motion and biometrics through a network of sensors woven into mesh. Its user base includes military, physical therapy, and elite sports. The Boyett Group led the funding round, which also included Draper Capital, Tribe Capital, and TKC Capital. Cipher Skin has raised $7.8 million to date and reported a 3,200% growth in revenue from 2019 to 2020.
BRANDSMEDIA & PLATFORMS
DAZN Adds Former Disney Streaming Exec as Chairman
By Luka Vasic
March 4, 2021
Former Walt Disney Company executive Kevin Mayer has joined sports streaming platform DAZN Group as Chairman of its Board of Directors. Mayer previously helped lead operations for Disney-owned streaming platforms such as Disney+, ESPN+, Hulu and Hotstar, as well as leading Disney’s acquisitions of 21st Century Fox, Marvel, Pixar, Lucasfilm and BAMTech.
Former ESPN president John Skipper will step down as chairman of DAZN after joining the company in 2018, though he will remain on its Board of Directors. Skipper will shift his focus toward running Meadowlark Media, a company he launched with former ESPN colleague Dan Le Batard, which DAZN has intentions to invest in and work alongside on future projects.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCEHEALTH & FITNESSTEAMS & LEAGUES
Injury Prediction Startup Zone7 Adds First Rugby Client
By Joe Lemire
March 4, 2021
Zone7, an artificial intelligence company that seeks to identify potential injuries before they occur, has branched out into rugby, signing its first franchise in that sport, the Ospreys. The 50-plus professional clients already working with Zone7 are primarily in soccer or baseball, with teams in Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1, La Liga and MLB.
The Swansea, Wales-based Ospreys compete in the Guinness Pro14, a European rugby union league. Zone7 collates data from a variety of sources—such as player medical histories and wearable technologies spanning everything from Apple Watches to the STATSports GPS trackers used by the Ospreys—to feed into its injury risk forecasting algorithms.
A graduate of the 2019 Future of Sport Lab accelerator program, Zone7 touts an ability to predict 75% of injuries with 95% accuracy. Rugby has been at the forefront of player welfare monitoring, even requiring each country to track player load passports at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.