Mar 9, 2021 - Sports

Paramount+ bets big on soccer

Illustration of Paramount + Logo with a soccer ball replacing the mountains

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Paramount+ launched last Thursday, just in time for the second legs of the Round of 16 Champions League. All four games will stream live in the app at 3pm ET today and tomorrow.

The state of play: Like Peacock, Paramount+ is leaning hard into its exclusive sports rights as a way to acquire new customers — and keep them.

  • Today: Juventus vs. Porto (up 2-1); Dortmund (up 3-2) vs. Sevilla
  • Tomorrow: Liverpool (up 2-0) vs. RB Leipzig; PSG (up 4-1) vs. Barcelona

In addition to having every UEFA Champions League and Europa League match, Paramount+ will also be the home of the 2021 NWSL season, plus over 200 CONCACAF matches, including World Cup qualifiers for both the USMNT and USWNT.

  • In other words, Paramount+ is a must-buy for hardcore soccer fans. Many were likely subscribed before it rebranded from CBS All-Access, but the hype around the new service — plus the free monthly trial — should recruit even more to join.

The big picture: Live sports remain a largely untapped growth lever for streamers. Of the 10 biggest sign-up events of 2020, four were sports-related, according to ANTENNA, a streaming measurement company.

The top 10:

  1. "WW84" (HBO Max)
  2. "Hamilton" (Disney+)
  3. Black Friday promo (Hulu)
  4. "Greyhound" (Apple TV+)
  5. Premier League + U.S. Open (Peacock)
  6. NFL Playoffs (CBS All-Access)
  7. Premier League (Peacock)
  8. "Soul" (Disney+)
  9. "Frozen II" (Disney+)
  10. NFL Regular Season (CBS All-Access)

The bottom line: For years, live sporting events have kept U.S. consumers tethered to cable. Now, as the world wades further into streaming, they've become a key tool for prying them away.

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