Zucker, Shanks Among Those Surprised By CBS Getting UEFA
The first public impeachment hearings into President Trump began today in the House of Representatives, but WarnerMedia News & Sports Chair and CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker was in L.A. to talk shop during Day 2 of the Endeavor Streaming Sports Media & Technology conference. Zucker addressed the recent awarding of UEFA Champions League (UCL) rights, which will move from Turner to CBS starting in the fall of '21: “We tried. We made a bid. We wanted to keep it and we made a bid that we thought was appropriate for us and appropriate for our business and our business model. I’m incredibly comfortable with where we were and what we bid. Obviously, we’re sorry that we won’t be in that business after next season, but I think that we did the right thing and came out in the right place.” He called UEFA’s bid process, which comes up in the middle of the second season of a three-season deal, “not ideal.” Zucker: “Their timing was such that this is when they wanted to do it. That was a little unfortunate, but we don’t control that.”
Fox Sports CEO & Exec Producer Eric Shanks on a separate panel at the conference also confirmed that his network made a bid for UCL rights. “We love the product,” he said. “We bid on a package that we thought was right for us and our strategy.” Shanks, like Zucker and NBC Sports Group President Pete Bevacqua, was “surprised” CBS landed the UEFA package. “We were unaware that there was a new participant coming into the market,” he said. Shanks added that he believes his network helped elevate the visibility of the UCL during the more than 15 years it was with Fox Sports. “The way that we put it across, at the time, Fox Soccer Channel, and FS1 and Fox broadcast -- we like to think we had a little something to do over those 15, 17 years making it the valuable property that it is,” Shanks said. “UEFA doesn’t send us a 10% check for some reason,” he joked.