PSA: CBS All Access Will No Longer Show Champions League, NWSL Next Month
CBS All Access became a big player in the world of soccer last year. The NWSL, Champions League, Europa League and Women’s Champions League gave the streaming service real legitimacy, something every U.S. soccer fan had to seriously consider subscribing to. Less than a year later all of those competitions are leaving CBS All Access for the dumbest of reasons.
CBS All Access launched in 2014 but really only became worth subscribing to in the last couple of years with the introduction of two new Star Trek series, a Twilight Zone reboot and, last year, a heavy focus on soccer. CBS snagged the UEFA Champions League (and EL and WCL) rights from Turner Sports in the middle of last year’s pandemic-stretched season while also providing unprecedented coverage of the NWSL, including the landmark Challenge Cup.
But all that work in raising brand awareness among soccer fans is disappearing because the executives at CBS had a bizarre change of heart. Starting March 4, CBS All Access will cease to exist, replaced by the new Paramount+ streaming service. I guess CBS wanted to join ESPN+, Disney+, Apple TV+ and Discovery+ with a name viewers still can’t figure out.
At the summit of Mount Paramount, a surprise greets our heroes as they celebrate sweet victory.
This is #PeakStreaming. This is #ParamountPlus. Launching March 4. https://t.co/wy45vK00p8 pic.twitter.com/omJQ4UzOfk— Paramount+ (@paramountplus) February 8, 2021
I can’t stress how weird this all is and I just had to let you all know what is happening because CBS isn’t.
CBS used the recent Super Bowl to plug the shit out of Paramount+ with countless commercials without really describing what it is. Not once did any of the Super Bowl ads explain Paramount+ is replacing CBS All Access. Even the CBS All Access website fails to really clarify what’s happening, only providing an obtuse video about Paramount+ on its website and hiding slightly less-obscure details in a hard-to-find FAQ. It’s almost as if CBS is ashamed of this rebrand and trying to downplay the fact it’s dropping CBS All Access.
For soccer fans wanting to know how to keep watching the Champions League and NWSL, all CBS All Access subscribers will have to transfer their login info (using the same email and password) to the new service to continue watching the same content. CBS All Access apps will switch to Paramount+ automatically, but you’ll have to go to a different website to log in and make any changes to your account.
What Soccer Fans Need To Know About Paramount+
Starting March 4, soccer fans who subscribe to CBS All Access for events like the NWSL and Champions League will find their apps have changed to Paramount+. This will be jarring for those who aren’t expecting it, but the service is essentially the same. For those who watch through a browser, you’ll have to go to ParamountPlus.com to log in and watch.
Importantly, the soccer offerings will remain the same on Paramount+ as they were on CBS All Access. The Champions League, Europa League and Women’s Champions League will continue their seasons on Paramount+ while the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup and NWSL season will be entirely on the new service.
Because the service launches on March 4, the first legs of the Champions League Round of 16 will be on CBS All Access with the second legs on Paramount+. The NWSL Challenge Cup begins April 9, followed by the regular season on May 15.
Essentially, not much will change for soccer fans. Your apps will have new names and branding and your credit card will be charged for a different service, but the content will basically be the same. If anything, the service will be improved with the introduction of more Viacom products, such as Comedy Central (Key & Peele!) and MTV (hence the weird presence of Snooki in those Super Bowl ads).
Hopefully the service’s stability continues to improve. Last fall we encountered a large number of technical issues using CBS All Access to watch the Champions League, including unavailable streams, audio glitches and more.
So CBS All Access is being replaced by Paramount+, CBS is trying to ignore the fact it’s ditching the brand it’s been promoting for seven years and soccer fans will have to slightly readjust their viewing habits. Don’t say you weren’t warned when all this changes next month, even if CBS isn’t explaining it.
(For a full list of soccer on Paramount+, click here.)