The draw for the UEFA Champions League group stage took place in Monaco today and threw up some intriguing story lines. Here’s the opening, read about each of the eight groups at ESPN.com/Soccer Champions League Returns
English clubs get it easy
It is the luck of the draw, but while the likes of Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid got groups with heavyweight rivals, the Premier League’s quartet will all be happy with their outcomes.
Tottenham landed Bayern Munich, but will expect to overcome Olympiakos and Red Star Belgrade, while Liverpool and Manchester City will expect to coast through as group winners and Chelsea are favoured to take Group H.
Another year, another Man City vs. Shakhtar clash
The two clubs were paired together in the group stage for the third successive season, so it might take an imaginative publicity campaign to tempt supporters to turn out for this fixture again. City’s executives will be happy to land yet another group lacking big-name glamour, but their fans might have wished for a bit more star quality.
Games begin September 17-18 and will be part of my Soccer On TV calendar. TNT holds the English language rights and will broadcast a fraction of the number of Champions League and Europa League matches as FOX did in its final year (2017-18). Last season, TNT broadcast fewer than 50 of the nearly 350 Champions League and Europa League matches and those numbers will be close to identical this season.
Capitalizing on some missteps from Turner Broadcasting, Univision’s Champions League coverage reached nearly 23 million viewers last season, the most-ever for a U.S. network. Univision Deportes accounted for 60 percent of the Champions League viewership in the U.S., the first time since 2013-14 that Spanish-language broadcasts had a larger share than English language. Champions League Returns