Press Review - July 2022

Stade Français and SPORTFIVE join forces to enhance the club’s marketing strategy

The international sports marketing agency SPORTFIVE and Stade Français Paris announced, on July the 13th, the signature of a strategic and exclusive partnership for a period of 6 years. This collaboration will allow the pooling of expertise in sponsorship, hospitality, and corporate ticketing as well as the growth of BtoB revenues.

To support this BtoB revenues growth, Stade Français Paris will benefit from a sponsorship and hospitality sales team integrated into the Club de la Capitale, supported by SPORTFIVE's central team. The aim of this organization is to develop the commercial appeal of the club, both nationally and in Europe. The first step of this partnership will be the opening of a new hospitality lounge during the upcoming TOP14 season.

We are very happy and proud to have been chosen by Stade Français Paris as an exclusive partner to accompany [the club] in its commercial development. Stade Français Paris is a historic and major rugby club with a unique identity which we have already used to build the club's new commercial offers and on which we will rely to help Stade Français Paris grow in France and internationally. The proximity of our two headquarters is a real asset for our daily work. We are all very enthusiastic about working closely with the club”, Laurent Moretti, Managing Director France of SPORTFIVE, said.

The success of this growth objective will depend on the expansion and conclusion of new partnerships and sponsorship agreements, the development of the commercial rights portfolio, the development of revenues linked to hospitality services and corporate ticketing for Stade Français Paris matches at the Jean-Bouin stadium as well as the animation of the Business Club.

“Stade Français Paris is delighted to integrate SPORTFIVE into its workforce to help it achieve its ambitious objectives. As an international leader in sports marketing and a pioneer in sports sponsorship, SPORTFIVE will enable us to provide our partners and our Business Club with support and guidance that meets the challenges of their brands. This collaboration reflects the ambitions of Stade Français Paris to become in the coming years one of the major players in the world of sport-business, ready to meet the challenges of the future.” Thomas Lombard, Managing Director of the Stade Français Paris.

FC Barcelona to sell 10% of its LaLiga TV rights to Sixth Street fund

FC Barcelona announced, on June the 30th, an agreement with private equity fund Sixth Street for the acquisition of a 10% share of the Club’s LaLiga TV rights.

According to this agreement, Sixth Street, a $60 billion private equity firm familiar with sports, media, and entertainment’s investments, will invest €207.5 million, receiving in return 10% of the Club’s LaLiga TV rights for the next 25 years. “Sixth Street is a proven supporter of football, an experienced investor across global sports and media, and a partner that will contribute significant knowledge and resources while allowing us to independently manage our operations”, the president of FC Barcelona Juan Laporta highlights. He adds: “We are activating economic levers and executing on our patient, sustainable, and efficient strategy to strengthen the club’s financial footing.”

The Financial Times reports that the FC Barcelona has opted for the option of selling its own share of TV rights “instead of participating in La Liga’s leaguewide €2bn deal with private equity group CVC Capital Partners, which provided a capital injection in exchange for 11 per cent of media rights over 50 years.”

As a reminder, Sixth Street has concluded, on May the 19th, 2022, an agreement with Real Madrid, according to which the American firm will pay €360mn to refurbish Santiago Bernabéu, the Spanish club’s stadium, receiving in return the management of a wide-range of live events over a 20-year period.

On his part, Alan Waxman, Co-Founder and CEO of Sixth Street, stated: “We believe in the strategy Joan Laporta and FC Barcelona are implementing and are proud that one of the most celebrated clubs in football has chosen us to be its partner and capital solutions provider […] Our team looks forward to a long-term partnership providing our flexible capital and deep sports sector expertise to support Barça as it continues to strengthen its organization and achieve its strategic objectives.”

UEFA Champion League:
Amazon Prime to broadcast the best Tuesday fixtures, from 2024, in the UK

Amazon Prime announced, on July the 1st, that it has won part of the broadcasting rights of the new Champions League format in the UK, from 2024.

"Delighted to announce that the best matches of the Champions League will be broadcast every Tuesday on Amazon Prime Video in the UK from 2024." Announced in these terms by Alex Green on hit Twitter account, head of sports at Amazon Prime, this three-year deal will see Amazon Prime starting to stream, in the UK, from 2024, some of the most desirable fixtures played on among Tuesdays in the European Champions League. New entrant in the world of football broadcasting, Amazon already holds the rights to 20 Premier League matches per season in the UK.

The Financial Times underlines that “BT Sport, which has had exclusive UK rights to the Champions League since 2015, will continue to carry the vast majority of games, while match highlights will move to the BBC for the first time.” The agreement reached in the UK is expected to bring in about 500 million pounds (577 million euros) a year for UEFA for the three seasons between 2024 and 2027, an increase of 20% over the current contracts. “The new broadcast deal coincides with an expansion of the competition, run by European football’s governing body UEFA. The move to increase the number of teams competing from 32 to 36 will add another 64 games, part of UEFA’s plan to boost revenue”, the Financial Times adds.

In a press release, UEFA’s marketing director Guy-Laurent Epstein said: “Amazon has ambitious plans across the global sporting industry and we look forward to the innovative ways in which it will broadcast European club football in the UK market.

Canal+ to broadcast, in France, all of UEFA’s competitions from 2024 to 2027

Canal+ has obtained the rights to broadcast all Champions League, Europa League, and Europa Conference League matches, in France, between 2024 and 2027, the encrypted channel announced on June the 30th.

According to L'Equipe, Canal+ will pay 480 million euros per season to obtain the total package of the three competitions, an increase of 25% compared to their current price. Champions League has generated the highest audience ratings of Canal+ last season, gathering on average 1.6 million viewers, reports say. "Very very happy for our subscribers and our teams and very proud to announce that Canal+ has just won the broadcasting of the entire Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League for 2024-2027", Maxime Saada, the president of the Canal+ group, said on his Twitter account.

The new formula of the Champions League that will start in 2024-25 season will include 36 clubs (instead of the current 32), divided into four groups of nine teams playing a mini-championship to qualify for the round of 16. There will be more matches (225 games in total versus 125 today) but also more French clubs involved (3 guaranteed places rather than the current 2).

Canal+ will also be able to choose to allow the broadcasting of some matches by its competitors, including its partner BeIn Sports. The two channels had already gained, in 2019, the main games of the Champions League for 2021-2024. Canal+ already broadcasts the entire English Premier League on an exclusive basis until the 2024-2025 season. The next big challenge for Canal+ is the upcoming tender for French football rights, expected next year.

Players equipped with bodycams and microphones on trial during pre-season

‘Innovation Game’ between 1. FC Cologne and AC Milan

The images have made the rounds of social networks. On July the 16th, during the victory of AC Milan in a friendly match against FC Cologne (2-1), the first goal of the match, scored in a beautiful way by Olivier Giroud, was filmed by one of the defenders of the German club, Timo Hübers.

In the context of this friendly match, called " #InnovationGame", Cologne teamed up with one of Germany's leading telephone operators to present a number of technologies that will undoubtedly be adopted in the coming years on the football field. These included a rather special jacket worn by Timo Hübers and his teammate Tim Lemperle. It is a sleeveless vest to put on under a shirt, which has a hole in the chest to let the camera lens pass through; the battery is located on the back.

"Using artificial intelligence, we retrieve the filmed content, which is then analyzed, automatically edited and sent to our customers within 20 minutes," explains Eran Tal, the co-founder of Mindfly, the Tel Aviv-based company that came up with the device. “We're still working on real-time delivery," he continues. “One of our challenges, first of all, when designing this jacket, was that players would be comfortable within a minute of putting it on."

According to Eran Tal, this device will be adopted by the football world within the next five years. "There is a lot of engagement on social networks with these images, especially with the younger players. The federations and leagues are aware of this," he explains, adding that referees would be the first to be equipped.

Concerning this first experience from the point of view of players, Timo Hübers says: "It took me a little while to get used to wearing the body camera, it was quite hot underneath. It didn't limit me, but I felt that I was wearing it," he said after the game on Saturday.

Outside of football, two months ago Mindfly convinced the Euroleague basketball league -after numerous tests- to sign a partnership to broadcast this kind of footage from the point of view of players.