A Look Inside the UEFA Partnership with CBS All Access and CBS Sports | Paramount

A Look Inside the UEFA Partnership with CBS All Access and CBS Sports | Paramount
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Can you give some background on the partnership with UEFA?

GERTTULA: As we looked at the range of rights available to us, the different properties, the different sports, we were looking for something that would reach young, engaged streaming audiences and fit the CBS Sports brand, which is synonymous with the biggest events in sports: the Masters, the Super Bowl and the Final Four. The Champions League is the biggest event in world soccer, the most prestigious club event in the world. We saw something that had the right demos for a streaming service and something that we could own in its entirety.

I think our vision has been, from the beginning, to put on something that we thought was authentic to an audience that loves soccer. Pete really has run with that and executed on it. We found out with a month’s notice that we were going to have to produce games in August.

RADOVICH: In 28 days, we needed to find a studio space and figure out how to technically do this and who our announcer talent was going to be. Honestly, when I think about it now, it almost seems like that’s impossible. But I know it’s possible because we did it. The fact we had very little time actually helped us, because when you have a lot of time, I think you talk yourself in and out of things. When you have a couple weeks, you have to pull the trigger and go with your gut.

What are some of those successes that you took from that first Champions League that you are trying to build upon with this next season?

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JG: The level of production and the quality standards that we wanted to hit were high at the outset. And Pete hit them. The way that we produced it was innovative in soccer coverage in the United States, knowing that we need to be better to convince the audience to pay. We’re always thinking, “How do we make it premium? How do we make it authentic to this passionate audience? How do we make it an appropriate size for what is the biggest club tournament in the world?”

PR: We were lucky that we all happen to be huge European soccer fans. When I watched soccer before, I never really watched it with a critical producer eye, because I didn’t work in it. I just kind of enjoyed it. So when it fell in our lap, we went with what we would want to see. We’re all American-born and American-raised, and we’re huge fans of the sport. What do we want to see?

It was truly one of the more enjoyable, if not the most enjoyable, process that I’ve ever been a part of in my career, because of the adrenaline of knowing, whether we’re ready or not, they’re playing.