Paramount+ will stream the UEFA Champions League until 2030

Paramount+ will be the home of UEFA Champions League soccer for the rest of the decade. Paramount Global (formerly ViacomCBS) has secured a six-year extension to stream the glitzy annual soccer tournament until the end of the 2029-30 season. The deal includes the English-language rights to the Europa League and Europa Conference League, the second and third tiers of international European club soccer competition.

The agreement is valued at over $1.5 billion, meaning that Paramount Global will pay around $250 million per year. That's a steep increase from the $100 million per year the company is currently paying, according to Bloomberg, which first reported the news. Several media companies are said to have been interested in the Champions League rights, with Paramount believed to have pipped Amazon.

The deal marks an extension of the current agreement Paramount has with UEFA, which will expire in 2024. Although some Champions League games air on Paramount-owned networks like CBS and CBS Sports Network, Paramount+ streams all of them. The service will continue to do so for another eight years.

The latest pact runs through the 2026 World Cup, which will take place in the US, Canada and Mexico and is expected to make the sport even more popular in North America. Paramount (which also has the rights to broadcast Serie A, some CONCACAF international games, the National Women's Soccer League and the Women's Super League) aired the 2022 Champions League final on CBS and drew record ratings. It was also the most-streamed soccer match ever on Paramount+.

“UEFA has been a key driver for Paramount+ since our launch and we are thrilled to extend this successful partnership showcasing even more world-class soccer through the 2029-30 season, building on the incredible momentum we have created the past two years,” CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus said in a statement.

Paramount+ will stream the UEFA Champions League until 2030

Paramount+ will be the home of UEFA Champions League soccer for the rest of the decade. Paramount Global (formerly ViacomCBS) has secured a six-year extension to stream the glitzy annual soccer tournament until the end of the 2029-30 season. The deal includes the English-language rights to the Europa League and Europa Conference League, the second and third tiers of international European club soccer competition.

The agreement is valued at over $1.5 billion, meaning that Paramount Global will pay around $250 million per year. That's a steep increase from the $100 million per year the company is currently paying, according to Bloomberg, which first reported the news. Several media companies are said to have been interested in the Champions League rights, with Paramount believed to have pipped Amazon.

The deal marks an extension of the current agreement Paramount has with UEFA, which will expire in 2024. Although some Champions League games air on Paramount-owned networks like CBS and CBS Sports Network, Paramount+ streams all of them. The service will continue to do so for another eight years.

The latest pact runs through the 2026 World Cup, which will take place in the US, Canada and Mexico and is expected to make the sport even more popular in North America. Paramount (which also has the rights to broadcast Serie A, some CONCACAF international games, the National Women's Soccer League and the Women's Super League) aired the 2022 Champions League final on CBS and drew record ratings. It was also the most-streamed soccer match ever on Paramount+.

“UEFA has been a key driver for Paramount+ since our launch and we are thrilled to extend this successful partnership showcasing even more world-class soccer through the 2029-30 season, building on the incredible momentum we have created the past two years,” CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus said in a statement.

New ‘FIFA Mobile’ mode puts the focus on strategy, not action

Would you rather oversee your FIFA Mobile team than control your players' every last step? You now have your chance. EA has introduced a Manager Mode to the Android and iOS title that has you focusing on strategy and tactics rather than action. You choose the starting lineup, set the tactics in real-time (such as attacking or countering) and let your team play. You can even queue multiple matches as you climb the division ranks.

The corresponding game update also improves goalkeepers, adds player switching options and offers kits for 30 national teams. The upgrade is available now.

This doesn't turn FIFA Mobile into a management sim like Football Manager. You aren't scouting talent, shaping training programs or wrestling with the team's board. Think of this more as the soccer equivalent to an auto battler like Auto Chess or Teamfight Tactics — it's a slightly more relaxed experience that does more to reward situational awareness than fast reflexes.

New ‘FIFA Mobile’ mode puts the focus on strategy, not action

Would you rather oversee your FIFA Mobile team than control your players' every last step? You now have your chance. EA has introduced a Manager Mode to the Android and iOS title that has you focusing on strategy and tactics rather than action. You choose the starting lineup, set the tactics in real-time (such as attacking or countering) and let your team play. You can even queue multiple matches as you climb the division ranks.

The corresponding game update also improves goalkeepers, adds player switching options and offers kits for 30 national teams. The upgrade is available now.

This doesn't turn FIFA Mobile into a management sim like Football Manager. You aren't scouting talent, shaping training programs or wrestling with the team's board. Think of this more as the soccer equivalent to an auto battler like Auto Chess or Teamfight Tactics — it's a slightly more relaxed experience that does more to reward situational awareness than fast reflexes.

EA’s last FIFA game is finally making women’s soccer a priority

After revealing Chelsea star Sam Kerr on its cover earlier this week, EA has unveiled the first trailer for FIFA 23 showing that women's soccer will finally be a key part of the game. It will include women's club teams from the top leagues in England and France, along with both the women's and men's competitions in both the 2022 Qatar World Cup and 2023 Australia/New Zealand World Cup. 

International women's teams have been available in EA FIFA games since 2016, but this will be the first edition with club teams. The women's game has climbed in popularity thanks in part to the Olympics and other international competitions, and the 2022 World Cup will provide another huge boost. Two leagues is far short from the dozens available for men's soccer, but it looks like EA plans to add more via future updates. "We’re committed to building an equitable experience and aspire to help grow women’s football," said FIFA 23's Matt Lafreniere.

FIFA 23 also introduces cross-play functionality and more "realistic" gameplay via its latest evolution of HyperMotion2 technology, EA said. That feature applies machine learning to motion capture data to create smoother player movements during gameplay.

FIFA 23 will be EA's last version of the game with the FIFA name, as it failed to come to terms with FIFA over financial and exclusivity issues. However, EA still holds licenses for more than 300 soccer partners and has exclusive agreements with the likes of the Premier League, MLS, La Liga, Bundesliga and Serie A. The series will be rebranded as EA Sports FC in its future versions.

‘FIFA 23’ has a female player on the Ultimate Edition cover for the first time

EA has announced the cover stars for FIFA 23 and, for the first time in the series, a female player will feature on the Ultimate Edition, which will be available internationally. Chelsea's Sam Kerr is one of the two cover stars, along with Kylian Mbappé of Paris Saint-Germain. This will be the third straight year Mbappé has appeared on FIFA covers.

Kerr is a more than worthy player to showcase on the game's cover. She has been shortlisted for the women's Ballon D'Or every year since the award's inception and finished in third place in last year's voting. Among her many other honors, Kerr has helped Chelsea to win the Women's Super League in each of the three seasons since she joined the club.

EA put women on the cover of its soccer games for the first time with FIFA 16. Steph Catley, Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair featured on the Australian, US and Canadian covers, respectively. They appeared alongside Lionel Messi, who was the cover star on other editions.

Meanwhile, Eurogamer reports that the Women's Super League, which is the highest-tier of pro women's soccer in England, will make its debut in the FIFA series this year. Until now, FIFA fans have only been able to play as women in the Volta and Pro Clubs modes, as well as in international teams through the kick-off mode.

EA will reveal much more about FIFA 23 when the first trailer debuts at noon ET on Wednesday (you'll be able to watch the video below once it's live). This will be the last annual EA soccer game that bears FIFA branding in its title. The name of the series will become EA Sports FC next year following a messy divorce from FIFA.

‘FIFA 23’ has a female player on the Ultimate Edition cover for the first time

EA has announced the cover stars for FIFA 23 and, for the first time in the series, a female player will feature on the Ultimate Edition, which will be available internationally. Chelsea's Sam Kerr is one of the two cover stars, along with Kylian Mbappé of Paris Saint-Germain. This will be the third straight year Mbappé has appeared on FIFA covers.

Kerr is a more than worthy player to showcase on the game's cover. She has been shortlisted for the women's Ballon D'Or every year since the award's inception and finished in third place in last year's voting. Among her many other honors, Kerr has helped Chelsea to win the Women's Super League in each of the three seasons since she joined the club.

EA put women on the cover of its soccer games for the first time with FIFA 16. Steph Catley, Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair featured on the Australian, US and Canadian covers, respectively. They appeared alongside Lionel Messi, who was the cover star on other editions.

Meanwhile, Eurogamer reports that the Women's Super League, which is the highest-tier of pro women's soccer in England, will make its debut in the FIFA series this year. Until now, FIFA fans have only been able to play as women in the Volta and Pro Clubs modes, as well as in international teams through the kick-off mode.

EA will reveal much more about FIFA 23 when the first trailer debuts at noon ET on Wednesday (you'll be able to watch the video below once it's live). This will be the last annual EA soccer game that bears FIFA branding in its title. The name of the series will become EA Sports FC next year following a messy divorce from FIFA.

FIFA OKs sensor ball and semi-automatic offside tracking for the 2022 World Cup

FIFA World Cup 2022 will feature an updated VAR (video assistant referee) system known as semi-automated offside technology, the international soccer governing body announced today. SAOT will replace the old (and still controversial) VAR system that FIFA first debuted at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The new system features 12 stadium cameras that will track the positioning of both the ball and each individual player, including 29 different data points on each player’s limbs and extremities. On top of that, a ball outfitted with a motion sensor will be used in each match, which will deliver live data on a player’s position at the time it's kicked.

FIFA believes that SOAT will help match officials make faster and more accurate decisions on offside calls. “VAR has already had a very positive impact on football and we can see that the number of major mistakes has already been dramatically reduced. We expect that semi-automated offside technology can take us a step further,” said FIFA Referees Committee Chairman Pierluigi Collina in a statement.

According to ESPN, the new system should cut the average time it takes to make a VAR offside decision from 70 seconds to 25 seconds. The old VAR system required manually drawing offside lines and calculating the kick point. FIFA officials claim that SOAT will automatically select both the offside line and kick point in seconds, using both data from the ball and limb-tracking data from the cameras. Human officials will then manually confirm each decision. After each decision is reached, a 3D animation will be displayed to spectators that visualizes the offside decision.

While it may seem risky to debut a completely new virtual referee system at a global event like the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, a more basic version of SOAT went through trial runs at last year’s Arab Cup in Qatar and this year’s FIFA Club World Cup. You can watch a demonstration of SOAT here

FIFA OKs sensor ball and semi-automatic offside tracking for the 2022 World Cup

FIFA World Cup 2022 will feature an updated VAR (video assistant referee) system known as semi-automated offside technology, the international soccer governing body announced today. SAOT will replace the old (and still controversial) VAR system that FIFA first debuted at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The new system features 12 stadium cameras that will track the positioning of both the ball and each individual player, including 29 different data points on each player’s limbs and extremities. On top of that, a ball outfitted with a motion sensor will be used in each match, which will deliver live data on a player’s position at the time it's kicked.

FIFA believes that SOAT will help match officials make faster and more accurate decisions on offside calls. “VAR has already had a very positive impact on football and we can see that the number of major mistakes has already been dramatically reduced. We expect that semi-automated offside technology can take us a step further,” said FIFA Referees Committee Chairman Pierluigi Collina in a statement.

According to ESPN, the new system should cut the average time it takes to make a VAR offside decision from 70 seconds to 25 seconds. The old VAR system required manually drawing offside lines and calculating the kick point. FIFA officials claim that SOAT will automatically select both the offside line and kick point in seconds, using both data from the ball and limb-tracking data from the cameras. Human officials will then manually confirm each decision. After each decision is reached, a 3D animation will be displayed to spectators that visualizes the offside decision.

While it may seem risky to debut a completely new virtual referee system at a global event like the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, a more basic version of SOAT went through trial runs at last year’s Arab Cup in Qatar and this year’s FIFA Club World Cup. You can watch a demonstration of SOAT here

Apple TV will stream every MLS game for a decade starting in 2023

After the debut of Friday Night Baseball, Apple is pushing further into live sports streaming. Starting in 2023, Apple TV will be the only place to watch every Major League Soccer game for the next decade. Soccer fans around the world will be able to stream all of the league's matches through the Apple TV app. Notably, there won't be any restrictions or regional blackouts.

The 10-year deal also covers Leagues Cup games (though viewers in Mexico will have to watch those and Campeones Cup matches elsewhere), along with select MLS NEXT Pro and MLS NEXT games. ESPN, Fox Sports and Univision currently hold the rights to MLS games, though their deals will expire after the current season.

Fans will need to subscribe to a new MLS streaming service, which will only be available through the Apple TV app, to watch every game. Access will be included as part of MLS full-season ticket packages. Apple also says TV+ subscribers will have access to a "broad selection" of MLS and Leagues Cup matches at no extra cost. Some games will be available for free.

Along with live games, the MLS streaming service will feature replays, highlights, analysis and a weekly whip-around show that will include goals and other key moments. There will be original programming as well. All MLS and Leagues Cup matches will have English and Spanish announcers, and games with Canadian teams will have French announcers too.

Fans will be able to follow news about MLS and their favorite teams in Apple News, and highlights will be featured there too. Along with the Apple TV app, which is available on a variety of platforms and devices, you'll be able watch games on the streaming service's website. More details, including pricing, will be revealed in the coming months.

“For the first time in the history of sports, fans will be able to access everything from a major professional sports league in one place,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of services, said in a statement. “It’s a dream come true for MLS fans, soccer fans, and anyone who loves sports. No fragmentation, no frustration — just the flexibility to sign up for one convenient service that gives you everything MLS, anywhere and anytime you want to watch.”

The company will reportedly pay MLS at least $250 million per year under the pact. After the minimum guarantee is met through subscriptions, MLS will receive extra revenue. Some games may air on linear TV networks as well, according to Sports Business Journal, though those matches will still be available on the Apple/MLS service.

Apple's push into sports may not end with baseball and soccer. The company has also long been rumored as a potential partner for the NFL.