Turner Wins Champions League TV Rights

Turner and Univision have won the rights to broadcast UEFA Champions League games starting in 2018.  Univision are retaining the rights that they had but Turner, with an accepted bid of $60 million annually, beat out NBC and Fox.  Their winning bid assures them the rights for a three year period.

I am shocked that FOX didn't go all out to win the bid seeing as how they have the World Cup rights through the 2026 tournament.  They have the rights to some MLS games along with the German Bundesliga.  Perhaps the Champions League doesn't help them convert viewers into World Cup watchers when the time comes.

It has not been announced yet but Turner could broadcast the Champions League on TNT or TBS as it does its other sports lineups.  How do you think Turner will handle the one of the greatest sporting tournaments in the world?

Champions League Quarter-final Draw

The Champions League draw for the quarter-finals was done this week and after the great games in the Round of 16 this draw doesn't disappoint.  If anything there will definitely be lots of GOALS!  

Oddly enough UEFA no longer does the semi-final draw the same night as the quarter-final draw so that will take place after these ties are played out.  The quarter-final fixtures will take place April 11/12 and April 18/19.

 2016/2017 Champions League Quarter-Final Fixtures

2016/2017 Champions League Quarter-Final Fixtures

Atlético vs Leceister City

This will be the battle of who wants the ball the least.  Both of these teams love to play on the counter.  It will be interesting to see how both sides line up.  I don't expect Atlético to alter their typical game plan.  While Leceister City's last opponent, Sevilla, are currently higher in the table in La Liga than Atlético I expect them to be a much harder test for the reigning English champions.  Antoine Griezmann will be a handful for Robert Huth to match up with and overall they are a faster team than Sevilla.  Leceister City, however, seems to perform best when their back is against the wall.  Vardy will be running non-stop and putting lots of pressure on a defense that won't see that level of physicality all year long.  This one will come down to which defense plays the best.
 

Dortmund vs Monaco

This might be the highest scoring quarter-final in the history of the UEFA Champions League.  Both of these teams have been pouring in goals.  Dortmund have scored 29 goals in 12 home matches in the Bundesliga so far this season.  Monaco has scored an astonishing 52 goals in 15 home games this season.  What separates these two teams?  Not a whole lot on the field.  Dortmund have American Christian Pulisic coming into peak form at the important part of the season.  While Monaco has seen a reincarnated Falcao rolling back the years and finding the back of the net more often than not this season.  This one may come down to the crowds.  Dortmund routinely has the highest average attendance of any soccer team in the world.  Roughly 80,000 people take in to the Signul Iduna Park every match.  Compare that to Monaco whose average attendance for the year is below 10,000 and that could be the difference maker.


Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid

This is the headline draw for sure.  Neither team has raised their game from past seasons but they are both sitting comfortably on top of their respective leagues.  Carlo Ancelotti has won the Champions League with multiple clubs while Zinedine Zidane won it in his first season as coach of Real Madrid.  This will come down to which team has the greater number of individual moments of brilliance.  Will Cristiano Ronaldo step up in the big game or will Arjen Robben (how is he still playing at this level???) produce for the German side?  Will Robert Lewandowski keep up his goal scoring form or will Karim Benzema produce the important goal for his side.  Everywhere on the pitch a lot of the individual duals cancel each other out until you look at the keepers.  This is the area that Bayern has a big advantage over Madrid.  Manuel Neuer is a much better keeper than Keylor Navas.  Navas has been under growing pressure at Madrid do to some high profile blunders in recent weeks.  Typically Madrid's offense can bail the team out but will not be as easy against Bayern.


Juventus vs Barcelona

This is being billed as best offense vs the best defense.  Not a bad pairing for a quarter-final match.  Barcelona will be riding high from their heroics in the last round against Paris St. Germain.  That went down as the greatest comeback in Champions League history for many fans of the game.  Juventus have conceded less than a goal a game all season.  That backline will need to be at its best if it is be successful against what many consider the best front line in world soccer.  Barcelona will be relying on Messi, Suarez, and Neymar to guide them through this tie.  Neymar in particular will be heavily marked by Juventus.  While Messi isn't having his most memorable season Neymar has stepped up and tried to make the difference.  That was very evident in the return fixture against PSG.  Over two legs this one is too tough to call as both teams have qualities the other does not.  

Chapecoense Wins Their First Ever Libertadores Match

The new Chapecoense team played its first ever Libertadores game against Zulia FC in Venezuela.

Three months after the airplane crash that killed most of the team’s players and staff, they traveled to Venezuela and beat the home team by 2x1.

The soccer world celebrates Chapecoense’s return to international play and hopes they make it far in the 2017 Copa Libertadores!

Vamos, vamos Chape!

FIFA Interactive World Cup

We have all played countless hours of EA Sports FIFA franchise.  The game made its debut way back in 1993 and has been on every major video game platform since then.  FIFA is the gift that literally keeps giving as each year the franchise releases a new iteration.  It is so popular that they actually have their own virtual World Cup!  Check out what it's like to take part in the 2016 FIFA Interactive World Cup.  How do you join for 2017?  Well first you need to be really good at FIFA.  Then you just have to register for the FIFA Interactive World Cup and own a copy of FIFA 2017 on PS4 or Xbox One.  

FIFA TV's cameras follow the stars of the show in New York City as they build up to one of the greatest ever FIWC finals.

FA Cup 5th Round Draw

The 5th round draw of FA Cup has taken place and almost all of the EPL teams have managed to avoid being drawn together.  They also managed to get away fixtures.  So fans of some of the smaller teams will be happy to know the big boys are coming to town!  

The 5th round of the FA Cup will take place the weekend of February 18.

Burnley v Lincoln City
Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur
Blackburn Rovers v Manchester United
Sutton Town v Arsenal
Middlesbrough v Oxford United
Wolves v Chelsea
Huddersfield Town v Manchester City
Millwall v Derby County or Leicester


Soccer Expeditions is a soccer focused tour agency that helps fans see their favorite teams and players from the stands through curated expeditions.  We handle your entire travel itinerary from airfare and hotels to match tickets and stadium tours.  You focus on the beautiful game and we will handle the rest!

FIFA Expands World Cup to 48 Teams

New FIFA President Gianni Infantino had campaigned to change the format of the World Cup to 40 teams initially.  Today the vote was taken to change the format of the World Cup from 32 teams and expand it to 48 teams.  This would take place starting with the 2026 tournament that is rumored to be held in North America.

While some federations and leagues were against the larger format there were plenty that were for it as that means a number of smaller nations from Asia, Africa and the Americas will now have a chance of qualifying for the World Cup.  Does this dilute the qualification process?  Probably but we will see how FIFA handles that.  

Infantino and FIFA PR have been marketing this as a way to grow the game of football and that may be true to an extent.  However, this is also a way to grow the bottom line with some expecting revenues for the tournaments to grow by $1 billion.  With more teams there will be more games which provides an opportunity for more ticket sales, more sponsorship deals, and of course higher broadcast fees.

There will now be 80 matches during the tournament instead of the 64 we see in the present day format, however, the winner will still only play 7 matches total.  The new tournament will consist of 16 groups of 3 teams and each team will play a minimum of 2 games.  The top two teams from each group will make it out of the group to the knockout Round of 32.

I'm sure we will be seeing lots of discussion about this new format over the next few weeks and months.  We won't find out if this change is for the better for some time but it could have impacts on leagues and player fitness that FIFA have yet to address.


Soccer Expeditions is a soccer focused tour agency that helps fans see their favorite teams and players from the stands through curated expeditions.  We handle your entire travel itinerary from airfare and hotels to match tickets and stadium tours.  You focus on the beautiful game and we will handle the rest!

FA Cup 4th Round Draw

The draw for the FA Cup 4th round took place today and the major teams avoided facing each other for now.  Tottenham, Chelsea, and Manchester United all landed home draws while Arsenal, Leciester City, and Manchester City were handed away draws.  Liverpool failed to breakthrough at home against Plymouth Argyle but if they prevail in the replay they will face Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The 4th round of the FA Cup will take place the weekend of January 28th.

Tottenham Hotspur v Wycombe Wanderers
Manchester United v Wigan Athletic
Oxford United v Newcastle or Birmingham City
AFC Wimbledon or Sutton United v Leeds United
Plymouth Argyle or Liverpool v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Southampton or Norwich City v Arsenal
Lincoln City or Ipswich Town v Brighton and Hove Albion
Chelsea v Brentford
Millwall v Watford
Rochdale v Huddersfield Town
Burnley or Sunderland v Fleetwood Town or Bristol City
Blackburn Rovers v Barnsley or Blackpool
Derby County v Leicester City
Fulham v Hull City
Middlesbrough v Accrington Stanley
Crystal Palace or Bolton Wanderers v Manchester City


Soccer Expeditions is a soccer focused tour agency that helps fans see their favorite teams and players from the stands through curated expeditions.  We handle your entire travel itinerary from airfare and hotels to match tickets and stadium tours.  You focus on the beautiful game and we will handle the rest!