Press Review - August 2022

Paramount Global renews contract for UEFA clubs’ games in US

In a deal valued at more than $1.5 billion, Paramount Global renewed its US media rights deal for UEFA clubs’ games over six years, from 2024 to 2030.

Paramount Global, parent firm of the CBS network and Paramount+ streaming service, will broadcast the UEFA Champions League, the Europa League, and the Europa Conference League for an amount of $250 million per year until 2030, against $100 million per year under the current deal, reports say. This agreement does not include the Spanish-speaking commentary track which is held by Univision. “Paramount outbid competitors from across the TV and digital landscape, a roster that includes such heavyweights as Amazon, Apple and the usual suspects at ESPN, NBC Sports and Fox Sports. Relevent Sports Group managed the auction for UEFA”, Finance Yahoo underlines.

UEFA has been a key driver for Paramount+ since our launch and we are thrilled to extend this successful partnership showcasing even more world-class soccer through the 2029-30 season, building on the incredible momentum we have created the past two years. UEFA is a perfect example of our differentiated strategy presenting marquee properties to drive and strengthen both our streaming and traditional linear businesses. This multiplatform approach allows us to leverage the power of Paramount Global to reach the broadest possible audience and elevate and grow the reach of UEFA in the United States. We look forward to continuing to provide soccer fans CBS Sports’ best-in class coverage that our viewers expect”, CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus said.

The Big Ten Conference reaches $1 billion in annual media rights

The Big Ten Conference media rights reach a new record, reports unveiled on August the 18th.

One billion dollars per season, over the next seven years, is the amount of the agreement signed between the Big Ten Conference, an organization that manages college sports competitions, and three American broadcasters: Fox, CBS, and NBC. What expansion did for us and for our fans, it really shrunk the United States, shrunk our country, to where people recognize they’ll be able to watch our teams compete and their schools compete morning, noon and night and at unique times during the year, like on Black Friday, and from coast to coast”, Kevin Warren, the conference’s commissioner, said.

All 16 members of the Big Ten Conference will benefit from these media revenues. Never before has a broadcasting contract reached such an amount in college sport history. This “monumental windfall […] arrives amid a rapidly changing landscape of schools hopping conferences and athletes advocating for a greater share of the increasing riches flowing through athletic departments”, The Washington Post underpins.

The “Thursday Night Football” Amazon’ exclusive media rights to be broadcasted
by DirectTV in commercial spaces and public venues

Satellite TV broadcaster DirecTV has reached an agreement with Amazon to ensure the NFL’s Thursday Night Football’s coverage in bars, restaurants, hotels, and public venue customers across the US.

In March 2021, Amazon acquired the “Thursday Night Football” exclusive media rights for an amount of $1 billion per year until 2033. It was the first time in the “NFL history that an entire package of games has been made available exclusively on a streaming service, presenting a distribution challenge for venues who may not have access to the necessary infrastructure”, points out. Then came the agreement, on August the 23rd, between Amazon and DirectTV: “We are one-stop shopping for sports looking to get into commercial establishments given our distribution, and Amazon recognized that. It frees Amazon up to focus on production and delivering it to their Prime customers. We can deliver Thursday Night Football to our commercial customers. It’s a good fit. […] The sports media landscape continues to evolve rapidly, and the focus on delivering a great experience to our entire range of customers must remain at the center of that evolution”, DirecTV Chief Content Officer Rob Thun said.

The Sports Business Journal underlies the fact that “this comes as welcome news to many bar and restaurant owners who faced a costly upgrade of their video systems to handle Amazon’s streaming service if they wanted to have access to “TNF” games, including pre-, halftime and postgame coverage.” DirecTV has a commercial portfolio of more than 300.000 clients, including sports bars, restaurants, hotels, stadium suites, casinos, and prisons.

AC Milan acquired by RedBird Capital Partners

RedBird Capital Partners announced, on August the 31st, that it has completed the acquisition of
AC Milan
for €1.2 billion.

Owned by Eliott management since 2018, the Italian club AC Milan has been acquired by RedBird, another American private equity fund. " We will look to leverage our global sports and media network, our analytics expertise, our track record in sports stadium developments and hospitality to deliver one goal - maintaining Milan’s place at the summit of European and world football," Gerry Cardinale, RedBird Founder and Managing Partner, said.

The deal will also see Yankee Global Enterprises, owner of the New York Yankees, enter into a strategic partnership with the club with a minority equity stake in AC Milan. The two entities are already co-owners of Yankees Entertainment Sports Network, “the most-watched regional sports network in the United States”, AC Milan’s press release indicates.

"We have a multi-decade relationship with the New York Yankees and the Steinbrenner family that has resulted in the creation of some of the most successful businesses in sports, entertainment and hospitality. We are very pleased to continue our partnership with them and will look to explore opportunities together to broaden our fan reach and expand commercial opportunities that are only available to franchises that operate at the highest levels of sports globally", Gerry Cardinale adds.

Kylian Mbappé reached an exclusive sponsorship agreement with Panini America

Panini America (a subsidiary of the Panini Group) and Kylian Mbappé announced, on August the 29th, that they had reached an exclusive autograph trading card and memorabilia multi-year deal.

Panini’s press release indicates that an integral part of the partnership will be Mbappé autographed trading cards and memorabilia being available only in Panini America trading card products and through Panini Authentic, the memorabilia division of Panini America. “Mbappé’s first autographed trading cards will be featured in Panini America’s upcoming National Treasures FIFA Road To The World Cup™ Soccer product which will release in September, followed by Prizm FIFA World Cup Qatar in October and Eminence in December. Mbappé’s first autographed memorabilia pieces (soccer balls, jerseys, photographs and more) will also be available exclusively through Panini Authentic beginning in late October”, Panini America precises.

It is such an honour for me to join the Panini family. As a child, I used to collect some of Panini trading cards, dreaming to be represented on these cards one day. Ten years later, here we are”, Kylian Mbappé said.