The deadline in the billion-euro market Champions League is running. The European Football Union (Uefa) is currently tendering the media rights for the reformed premier class, and the Team Marketing agency is selling packages for the three seasons from 2024/25. The deadline for submitting bids is November 14, they must be received by 10:00 a.m. at the latest. Uefa expects a more than 40 percent increase in revenue.
Who should pay for this? This is the question for media companies and TV broadcasters. But this question also arises for the fans, who are being asked to pay more and more. Even before the start of the current season, subscription costs rose. Amazon Prime Video is currently showing a live game on Tuesday and increased from 7.99 to 8.99 euros. The Internet broadcaster DAZN broadcasts the other games, at 29.99 euros per month it is almost twice as expensive as in the previous season. Many fans protested.
“Against this background and in view of the general economic situation, I currently see no room to increase this price level again,” commented the media expert Christian Frodl from the law firm Klinkert Rechtsanwälte. The former rights dealer said the “huge increase in the cost of sports rights over the past decade has made it increasingly difficult for media companies to refinance.”
According to information from the German Press Agency, the Uefa tender for the new rights phase is essentially the same as the current contracts: In addition to a package for a top game on Tuesday, there is one for the other games in the competition and rights for summaries. In the previous week, the documents were sent to interested parties in German-speaking countries.
Due to the reform of the most important European cup, the offer includes 64 games more than the current model of the Champions League with 125 games. Instead of around 3.5 billion dollars per season, Uefa is now aiming for 5 billion dollars per year, according to consistent media reports.
“Pain limits must not be exceeded,” said media expert Christoph Bertling. “If one party falls away, there is no business model.” The researcher from the German Sport University Cologne described sports broadcasting rights as “always risky goods” that “have become many times more risky for media companies in recent years”. DAZN is definitely negative, as Germany boss Alice Mascia confirmed to the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”.
Are Uefa’s growth expectations realistic? In Great Britain, the rights have already been sold, officially it is the only deal so far. And although there are more games and, alongside BT Sports, Amazon has bought European rights for the first time on the island, according to the Guardian there has only been an increase of around 15 per cent to £1.5 billion over three years.
The fans who don’t want to or can’t afford pay-TV are already staring in the tube, since ZDF didn’t stand a chance in the last betting with the Internet trading giant Amazon.
What remains without additional costs is a highlight show late on Wednesday evening. This is “an important building block in our overall sports reporting,” said Anke Scholten, acting head of sports at ZDF. The 14 programs of the 2021/2022 season were watched by an average of 1.79 million people and accounted for a market share of 13.4 percent.
Only the final is currently available on free TV. 8.4 million people watched Real Madrid’s victory over Liverpool in May on ZDF. A package with the three finals from 2024/25 is also in the new UEFA tender. It seems unlikely that there will be more than this one game without additional costs.