UEFA aims to exceed $2000 million in America with Champions League rights | comp

UEFA will start soliciting bids for Champions League television rights in the US, with bids expected to top $2 billion for a six-year deal, more than double what UEFA receives every year in deals current, according to people familiar with the matter. the organization.

The group is expected to publish a document on its website on Monday inviting companies to bid for the annual tournament in which Europe’s best football teams participate. The deadline for submission of bids is August 15th.

UEFA has held preliminary talks in recent weeks with Comcast Corp’s NBC, Walt Disney Co’s ESPN, Paramount Global’s Amazon.com, Apple Inc, Fox Corp and Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. and Univision and DAZN. The sources requested anonymity because the discussions are private.

Paramount and Univision have the right to the Champions League. Between them they pay about $145 million a year, although Paramount pays more. The audience was huge. The UEFA Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool, two of the most popular teams, drew 2.8 million viewers on CBS in May. This was the highest viewership for a US final on English-language television. It was also the largest streaming audience for a football match on Paramount+.

UEFA has made several changes to make its rights more attractive to media companies. It will increase the number of teams from 32 to 36 from 2024. For the first time, media outlets can bid for rights for up to six years, from 2024 to 2030, giving broadcasters more time to increase their marketing and production capacity.

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Games were also added in January, which could help streaming services, which would see subscribers opt out when the league takes a break that month. The new format means fewer games overlap and popular teams playing more often. In a sign of the growing popularity of live broadcasting, the league is relaxing the requirement that a minimum number of games appear on traditional television.

Football has become the preferred sport in the era of broadcasting due to its young, digitally savvy fan base. Several telecom companies, such as Paramount, ESPN, and NBC, have used the sport to promote their online offerings. It has also been attractive to tech giants who are just getting into sports broadcasting. Last month, Apple Inc. Major League Soccer acquired the rights, while Amazon.com Inc. On the rights to broadcast the UEFA Champions League in the UK for the first time.

UEFA is betting that this is the perfect time to sell football rights in the US, where prices have skyrocketed. In November, Comcast Corp’s NBC affiliate agreed to pay more than $2.5 billion over six years to renew broadcast rights for Premier League matches. This amount triples the previous agreement. For its part, Apple is paying a minimum guarantee of $250 million annually for the rights to Major League Soccer, nearly three times the value of the previous deal, according to Sports Business Journal.

Also, in 2026, the United States will host the World Cup, which may generate more enthusiasm for football among the American public. The bidding process is being conducted by Relevent Sports Group, which was co-founded by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross. In February, Relevent won the rights to negotiate UEFA media deals in the United States, beating other agencies such as Octagon, Entorno and Endeavor’s IMG, promising to sell the rights for at least $250 million a year.

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Relevent has experience brokering football contracts in the United States. Last year, it sold the rights to Spain’s soccer league, La Liga, to ESPN for $1.4 billion over eight years.

Amber Cross

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