Uefa looks to double Champions League US rights as it eyes US$2bn for six-year deal – SportsPro – SportsPro Media - STRATEGIES TO EARN MONEY

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Uefa looks to double Champions League US rights as it eyes US$2bn for six-year deal – SportsPro – SportsPro Media

  • Initial talks held with NBC, ESPN, Amazon, Apple, Fox, Warner Bros Discovery, Univision and DAZN, according to Bloomberg
  • Relevent reportedly guaranteed Uefa US$100m more than minimums in previous cycle

Uefa has launched the US media rights sales process for its club tournaments, as European soccer’s governing body chases lucrative new broadcast deals in the country.

The process with the European Club Association (ECA) will be for contracts starting from the 2024/25 season, covering the Uefa Champions League, Uefa Europa League and the Uefa Europa Conference League.

Deals are expected to be completed before the start of the 2022/23 campaign.

Relevent Sports Group has been drafted in to manage the process, ending Team Marketing’s exclusive 25-year sales brief with Uefa.

According to The New York Times in February, Relevent said it could secure Uefa US$250 million for the rights in the US – approximately US$100 million more than what the organisation is currently guaranteed from its deals in that territory.

Bloomberg reports that offers for the elite Champions League tournament are expected to top US$2 billion for a six-year deal, more than double what Uefa gets per year under current agreements.

Sportico had reported earlier this year that Uefa’s club competition rights are projected to deliver more than US$4 billion annually for the 2024 to 2027 period, a significant increase on the US$3.1 billion that the European soccer body brought in last year from its current deals.

For the new US cycle, Uefa has purportedly held preliminary discussions in recent weeks with NBC, ESPN, Amazon, Apple, Fox, Warner Bros Discovery, Univision and DAZN.

Paramount and Univision currently hold the US rights to the Champions League. The pair stump up about US$145 million per year combined, with Paramount paying more.

Last season, 5.36 million viewers tuned in to watch the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool, making it the competition’s most-watched final in US history. Sports Business Journal (SBJ) also reported that Real’s semi-final second leg win over Manchester City averaged 1.1 million viewers on CBS, becoming the most-watched semi-final ever on English-language TV in the US.

The tender comes as the Champions League gears up for its new format from 2024/25, which will feature a new league table system. The number of teams will also increase from 32 to 36. Uefa says this will ensure more high-quality matches for broadcasters and a ‘year-long storyline’ that translates into a ‘high-stakes competition’ across the league and knockout stages.

SportsPro says…

Uefa feels now is the time to strike with selling its US soccer rights. Looking at earlier deals in the market, you can see why.

Last November, NBC renewed its broadcast partnership with English soccer’s Premier League in a six-year pact worth around US$2.7 billion, almost three times its previous contract. Last month, Major League Soccer (MLS) struck a reported US$250 million a season deal with Apple, almost triple the current agreement.

Adding to this narrative is the 2026 Fifa World Cup, which is being co-hosted by the US, Canada and Mexico, with soccer’s momentum in the States showing no signs of slowing.



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