UEFA US rights auction kicks off new sports streaming wars – Sportico.com

On Monday morning, executives from every major sports media company received an email inviting them to pitch their best pitch for what will likely be the biggest TV and streaming sports rights deal of the year: American rights to UEFA, including the UEFA Champions League.

As The Hollywood Reporter writingLeague officials and their US business partner Relevent Sports Group are banking on the growing interest in European football and the need for big, exclusive sports streaming content, to boost the new deal, which will come into effect with the 2024-season. 2025.

According to a person familiar with the talks, Relevent and UEFA are looking for a six-year deal and expect a big outcome, especially after NBCUniversal agreed to retain the rights to the English Premier League last year. The 6-year EPL deal, which includes live games on USA Network, Peacock, NBC and Telemundo, was worth around $430 million a year, or more than $2.5 billion over the course of the deal.

But while a similar financial outcome is expected, UEFA‘s new media rights takeover bid is not just about economics. The source involved in the talks said the first round of offers – which are scheduled for August 15 – are also expected to include detailed marketing and distribution plans, as well as a breakdown of streaming versus linear matches.

Every major media company should take a look at the package, including mainstream majors like Disney/ESPN, CBS/Paramount, Fox, NBCUniversal, and Warner Bros. Discovery, joined by streaming giants like Apple and Amazon.

It is also possible that the rights will be split (this will depend on the results of the tender which is now open), although UEFA are unlikely to approve more than two packages.

The UEFA rights may be of particular interest to companies looking to invest in their own streaming offerings. With American leagues like the NFL and NBA still primarily focused on linear TV, UEFA seems open to packages with a strong streaming component. Given UEFA’s younger-than-average fan base, streaming may make sense as a primary delivery mechanism, although linear may still be eye-catching.

“This product appeals to a young and diverse audience, which is an important part of the strategy, especially when it comes to streaming,” the source said.

After bids arrive next month, UEFA and Relevent are expected to move quickly, with a deal hopefully completed by the start of the 2022-23 season, which kicks off in September.

Sports rights continue to skyrocket in value, even as linear television continues its slow secular decline in subscribers.

While the recent 10-year, over $100 billion rights deals for the NFL remain the benchmark for increased rights value, all major sports are seeing their potential TV and streaming revenues increase.

The main cause is streaming, with legacy partners like ESPN, CBS and NBCUniversal all investing in their own streaming services (ESPN+, Paramount+ and Peacock), while also pursuing rights to keep their linear channels continuing to generate cash. .

And following the UEFA deal, all eyes will be on the NBA, which is also looking to renew its deals ahead of the 2024-25 season, and is likely eyeing a deal that will be the second after the NFL when it will end. at the top.

Meanwhile, new entrants are beginning to invest seriously in the sport. In particular, Amazon and Apple are securing significant rights and making competitive bids, with Amazon set to become the exclusive home of the NFL. Thursday night football later this year, and Apple recently signed a long-term deal with Major League Soccer. Amazon also secured the rights for UEFA in the UK earlier this year.

“This product appeals to a young and diverse audience, which is an important part of the strategy, especially when it comes to streaming,” the source said.

Comments are closed.