Four UEFA finalists bid for $ 30 billion in football rights

Four finalists have emerged in the multibillion-dollar auction for media rights and sponsorship of UEFA’s men’s club competitions, which are expected to be among the most expensive commercial rights tenders in the world. history of the sport, according to several people familiar with the process.

Marketing team, Relevant sport group, Infront Sports and IMG have been ordered to submit their final offers by the end of the week, the sources said. A winner could be announced as early as next week.

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The tender includes the rights to the Champions League and the Europa League, annual competitions to crown the best clubs in Europe. The rights will generate around $ 4.1 billion per year in the 2021-24 three-year cycle and are expected to bring in more than $ 30 billion in the 2024-2030 two cycles, people said.

Representatives for Relevent and IMG declined to comment. UEFA, Infront and TEAM did not respond to Sportico’s requests for comment.

The governing body of European football, UEFA in October announced that it is starting the process for an agency to represent its commercial rights from 2024. Unlike US leagues such as the NFL or the NBA, which sell media and sponsors internally, UEFA contracts which work with a third party, which then negotiates with broadcasters and partner companies. The four finalists bid on the 2024-2027 three-year cycle, with an option for 2027-2030, residents said.

TEAM is the licensee, having held the exclusive rights to UEFA competitions for more than 25 years. Relevent, backed by Stephen Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins, IMG, owned by Endeavor, and Infront of Wanda Group also have extensive football rights experience.

Commercial rights for men’s club competitions have increased dramatically over the past decade. Revenue was around $ 2.7 billion per year in 2015-18 and $ 3.7 billion per year in 2018-21, according to one of the people. The media currently make up around 85% of that total, with sponsorship making up most of the rest.

The potentially record breaking deal is managed by a joint venture between UEFA and the European Club Association (ECA) called UEFA Club Competitions SA (UCCSA).

Based in Switzerland, UEFA has been besieged by demands from top clubs for higher payouts. In July, a group of clubs led by Real Madrid president Florentino Perez tried unsuccessfully to form a new tournament called the Super League, aimed at distributing bigger wins to top European clubs. In October, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, chairman of ECA, an independent organization representing the interests of football clubs, told reporters the organization needed a “new model” to achieve better financial stability. for clubs in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Al-Khelaifi replaced Andrea Agnelli, the president of Italian Juventus FC who left ECA after his club joined the short-lived Super League initiative. He is also president of Paris Saint-Germain and of the media group beIN.

This UEFA call for tenders could depend on the willingness of the finalists to offer a guaranteed minimum income. This guarantee, which acts as a signing bonus, would give UEFA a large initial sum that it could immediately distribute to the clubs.

The 2024-2025 season will be an important test for UEFA. The Champions League, its most important club tournament, will revamp its format from 2024. The current 32-team tournament will be replaced by a 36-team competition, where each team will play 10 group stage matches instead of the six. current.

UEFA is also adding inventory with the addition of the Europa Conference League, a third-tier tournament below the Champions League and Europa League.

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