MultiChoice wins in fallout of European Super League

Television streaming companies can breathe easy with the withdrawal of top English clubs from the plan to establish the European Super League.

Twelve biggest clubs in Europe declared that they are planning to walk away from the UEFA competitions, specifically the Uefa Champions League, in order to set up their own, closed shop “European Super League (ESL)”.

A backlash from fans, former players, politicians and football association has however seen all six Premier League teams: Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea withdraw from the new formation.

Manchester City were the first club to pull out after Chelsea signaled their intent to do so by preparing exit documentation.

Read also: What new European Super League means for you

The other four sides — Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham — have all now followed suit.

In neighbouring Italy, Inter Milan are also set to withdraw as they no longer wish to be involved with the project.

The new league announced on Sunday was about to throw TV streaming rights into a fight to the bottom, opening up competition for rights of airing the Tuesday and Wednesday evening soccer duels.

Reports indicated that ESL organizers were eying online streaming companies with The Financial Times saying discussions had been held with Facebook, Amazon, Disney and Comcast-owned Sky to secure broadcast lucrative deals.

New broadcasting deals would have hit traditional providers such as South Africa-based network, SuperSport, which has been airing Uefa and league matches across Sub-Saharan Africa.

In fact, SuperSport, the subsidiary of the MultiChoice Group had only as recently as November last year, secured a three-year extension to its Premier League broadcast partnership in Sub-Saharan Africa until the end of the 2024/25 season.

Read also: Screen time can be both fun and educational for your kids

The company last extended its partnership with the Premier League in April 2017. That deal was worth a reported $222 million a-year and included rights to air all of the league’s 380 matches per season.

MultiChoice Group, Africa’s largest media and entertainment company, is very popular with the sports channel offers with a captive market of football fans across the continent.

If the new elite league would have proceeded and the repercussions of breaking apart local European leagues, the broadcast rights would have been worth less than what the company currently gets from broadcasting the matches.

It would also have led to re-negotiations with clubs and competition organizers to cut the current valuations of the broadcast rights further whittling down revenues and ability of clubs to survive. 

UEFA takes in nearly $4 billion a year from media rights across all of its competitions, according to its latest financial report. Broadcast rights made up more than 85 per cent of total revenue, followed by commercial rights (12.8 per cent) and tickets and hospitality fees (1.3 per cent).

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