US media giants Paramount Global and Comcast have agreed to renew their distribution deal, ensuring that Paramount-owned channels will continue to be shown on cable systems and services run by Comcast.

The deal means that there is now no chance of Paramount Global channels, which includes the CBS Sports Network among others, being blacked out from Comcast, amid rising debt issues at the company.

It is an extension of the original deal, agreed in January 2022, that sees Paramount’s suite of channels broadcast to an estimated number of over 14 million Comcast cable subscribers and 29 million Comcast broadband subscribers through Comcast’s Xfinity platform.

CBS Sports’ offerings, which include soccer’s UEFA Champions League, Europa League, and Europa Conference League competitions, as well as NCAA collegiate athletics and American football’s NFL will remain widely available via Comcast.

The renewal of the broadcast terms comes despite the ongoing merger rumors surrounding Paramount given its worrying financial troubles.

The firm is reportedly in early-stage merger talks with media and entertainment giant Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), with the potential for the combination of the two’s streaming platforms a major facet of the negotiations.

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By GlobalData

Citing multiple sources, Axios said WBD chief executive David Zaslav met with his Paramount Global counterpart Bob Bakish on December 19 in New York to discuss a possible merger and has also spoken to Shari Redstone, owner of Paramount’s parent company.

WBD’s market value stands at around $29 billion, while Paramount’s is just over $10 billion so a deal could mean a combined market value standing at around $39 billion. In November, WBD reported subscriber numbers of its Max streaming service at 95 million, while Paramount Plus subscribers totaled 63.4 million.

Paramount Plus in particular is Paramount’s home for much of its soccer and NCAA coverage, as well as golf and mixed martial arts among others.

WBD, meanwhile, airs several major sports competitions via its traditional linear networks TNT and TBS and Max streaming service, including baseball’s Major League Baseball, ice hockey’s NHL, basketball’s NBA, college basketball’s March Madness, motor racing’s annual 24 Hours of Le Mans, and games involving the US national men’s and women’s soccer teams.

The media giant also holds a plethora of rights across Europe through its ownership of pan-European sports broadcaster Eurosport, including the Paris 2024 Olympics, tennis’ ATP men’s tour, as well as the Australia Open and French Open grand slams, FIS World Cup skiing, cycling's Tour de France, La Vuelta, and Giro d’Italia, and motor racing’s Formula E and Le Mans 24 hours.

In October, WBD announced it will launch its Max service across Europe in the first half of 2024, which will feature live sport via Eurosport.