Paramount Beats Amazon And Keeps The Champions Paying Double

Paramount Global renewed its rights to broadcast Champions League soccer matches in the US in a deal valued at more than $1.5 billion over six years, more than double the size of its previous contract in a sign of the growing popularity of the sport among Americans.

The owner of the CBS network and streaming service Paramount+ will broadcast the annual tournament featuring Europe’s top soccer teams under a new deal that runs from 2024 to 2030. Paramount will pay around $250 million per year, versus the $100 million per year under the previous deal, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Union of European Football Associations, or UEFA, had been seeking around $2 billion for six years for the combined English and Spanish rights, but decided to postpone the sale of the Spanish rights because the broadcast market for that audience it is still at its peak. early days, people said.

TelevisaUnivision Inc., which currently owns the Spanish-language rights, launched a new streaming service called Vix+ in July. Meanwhile, rival Telemundo plans to start a content hub at Peacock, the streaming service owned by its parent, Comcast Corp.

The new deal with Paramount validates the Champions League as one of the most valuable European soccer properties in US media and is further evidence of the high cost of sports rights. In November, Comcast Corp.’s NBC agreed to pay more than $2.5 billion over six years to renew the US rights to show English Premier League matches.

That was nearly triple the cost of his previous deal. Apple Inc. is paying a minimum guarantee of $250 million a year for the Major League Soccer rights, nearly triple the value of the previous deal, according to Sports Business Journal.

Paramount is betting that the sport will continue to grow in popularity in the United States. The Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool drew 2.8 million viewers on its CBS network in May, the largest audience in the US for an English-language television broadcast of a final game. It was also the largest broadcast audience for a match on Paramount+.

Before settling on Paramount, UEFA also had preliminary talks over U.S. Champions League rights with Comcast’s NBC, Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN, Inc., Apple, Fox Corp., Warner Bros. Discovery Inc., Univision and DAZN, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the conversations were private. In the end, Paramount and Amazon made the two highest bids, the people said.

“UEFA has been a key driver for Paramount+ since our launch and we are delighted to extend this successful partnership by showcasing even more world-class football throughout the 2029-30 season, building on the incredible momentum we have created over the last two years,” he said. Sean McManus, president of CBS Sports.

For UEFA, it was a particularly good time to negotiate a new contract. Not only are media companies willing to pay more for sports rights, but the US will also host the World Cup in 2026, likely creating more hype around the sport.

The bidding process for the Champions League was handled by Relevent Sports Group, which was co-founded by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross. In February, Relevent won the rights to negotiate UEFA’s US media deals, beating out other agencies such as Endeavor’s Octagon and IMG by promising to sell the rights for at least $250 million a year.

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