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Why now for European football’s Super League? Mega TV deals

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On Sunday, six English clubs – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur -, along with three from Italy – AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus – and three from Spain – Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid – plans to train a breaking circuit.
The ad sent shock waves through the football world, provoking the indignation of fans, players and even politicians. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson he tweeted that the plans “would be very harmful” and “impact the heart of the domestic game.”

These teams are some of the most valuable franchises in the world and there are many reasons for this change (and vitriol). But the biggest one has to do with television.

One of the main incentives is the possible television distribution deal and “the large sums of money it entails,” said Lee Igel, a professor at NYU’s Tisch Institute for Global Sport.

“It’s really about how much these clubs could win if that competition existed,” Igel told CNN Business. “This is based on what the revenue structures are, both in terms of current television offerings and in the creation of the competitions themselves.”

How much money are we talking about? Patrick Crakes, a media consultant and former Fox Sports executive, said the rights to these competitions and leagues “are already worth billions.” This new league, in its final form with a total of 20 teams, would result in “an incremental increase in that number.”

Crakes explained that in the last 20 years there has been a “rapid acceleration” [in the value] of all the rights of the sports media. “However, as broadcasting becomes a dominant form of how audiences watch television, it has also created a fractured media environment. And that, according to Crakes, has had an excessive impact on the value of live sports. .

“It’s not so much that people don’t get to the established platforms, they just spend less time with it. Things like sport have been less affected by that,” he said. “The gap between sports and everything else was always a little big, and now, even as the sports vision has diminished, the gap is even bigger. It’s that gap that creates value.”

A clear example of the power of live sports for both traditional television and broadcast platforms was the NFL’s recent renewal of its media rights with its broadcast partners. The deal was valued at more than $ 100 billion. The league’s traditional partners (CBS, NBC, ABC / ESPN and Fox) retained their rights for the next decade, while digital giant Amazon Prime obtained the exclusive rights to broadcast Thursday night’s Football.

“People still tune in to live sports”

So, if this Super League becomes a reality, who in the streaming world could benefit more from having the exclusive rights to broadcast it?

Nationally, it should be a “transmission service connected to powerful established platforms” to be able to pay high toll rates, according to Crakes.

“A lot of the same players who won the NFL bid will compete for that,” he said.

The NFL signs more than $ 100 billion in multimedia deals and offers Amazon exclusive games
NBCUniversal’s Peacock and ViacomCBS ’Paramount + may be appropriate, as they already have football at their services. Disney (DIS), owner of ESPN and ESPN +, could certainly be interested. Amazon (AMZN) has shown that it has invested in live sports as it was an important part of the new NFL deal.
Still, Amazon Prime Video Sports he tweeted on Tuesday he has not been “involved in any discussion for this Superliga proposal.”

“We are proud to offer our Prime members the football they care about most and to present the action in the most innovative ways, including UEFA Champions League football in Germany and Italy and Premier League football in the United Kingdom. “the company said.

Internationally, Sky Sports, to which it belongs Comcast (CMCSA), also said he has not been involved in any discussions on ESL, adding that he is “fully focused on supporting our long-term football partners in the UK and Europe”.
“Over the past 24 hours, Sky Sports has passionately articulated the views of football fans on the importance of preserving and maintaining the entire football pyramid,” the company said. he tweeted.
BT Sport echoed this message, piulant which acknowledges “the concerns raised by many of the leading voices and football fans” and “believes that the formation of a European Super League could have a detrimental effect on the long-term health of football in that country.”

Of course, it’s still too early to know if ESL will come to fruition and what that will mean for potential TV and broadcast partners. Still, the league’s simple announcement highlights the evolution of the television market and the growing global appeal of football, Igel said.

“International football is already a very popular sport around the world and is still on the rise,” he said. “They’re live sports and people still tune in to live sports.”

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