Press Review - March 2023

FIFA and ECA renewed their agreement

FIFA and European Club Association (ECA) have signed, on March the 27th, a renewed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the 29th ECA General Assembly in Budapest, Hungary.

  Running until the end of 2030, this agreement includes a renewed commitment by clubs to adhere to the International Match Calendar, which received the unanimous approval of the FIFA Council on March the 14th.  “To have the new International Match Calendar endorsed by ECA provides the necessary balance between club and national team football. We have exciting projects ahead, including the new FIFA Club World Cup in 2025 and the new FIFA Women`s Club World Cup. A close collaboration with clubs in Europe, and the rest of the world, will be essential for the success of those events”, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said.

  ECA clubs have indeed confirmed their support for the new FIFA Club World Cup from 2025, including 12 European clubs, a yearly game between the winner of the UEFA Champions League and the winner of an intercontinental play-off, and a FIFA Women’s Club World Cup to be created.

  Moreover, according to this agreement, the Club Benefits Programme, compensating all clubs who release players for the men’s World Cup, will increase from $209 million for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups to $355 million for the 2026 and 2030 editions. “The MoU recognizes the central role of clubs in football globally and ensures that they are properly represented in decision-making around issues which affect them. […] We look forward to working closely with FIFA over the coming months and years to ensure that the benefits of new and expanded competitions in both men’s and women’s football are properly shared across the ecosystem”, ECA Chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi added.

FIFA has tripled its financial allocation for the 2023 WWC

FIFA said, in March the 17th, that it has tripled the ‘prize money’ for the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia/New Zealand, while President Gianni Infantino excoriated broadcasters for not offering enough money for the tournament’s media rights.

  On the occasion of its congress held in Rwanda in mid-March, FIFA said that it will allocate $152 million to the 2023 WWC, hosted by New Zealand and Australia, which is three times the total of the 2019 women’s World Cup in France. The sum comprises prize money, funding for teams, and payments to clubs, FIFA indicates. In comparison, the prize money at the men’s 2022 World Cup totalled $440 million. Gianni Infantino said that FIFA will work to achieve equal payments at the 2026 men’s and 2027 women’s World Cups.

  Moreover, Gianni Infantino has been critical towards broadcasters concerning the amounts of their offers for the 2023 WWC media rights. “FIFA is stepping up with actions, and not just words. Unfortunately, this is not the case of everyone across the industry. Broadcasters and sponsors have to do more”, he added. In this respect, explains that “there are a few simple reasons for broadcasters to be cold on spending big money on the Women’s World Cup. Firstly, the timing of most matches for the big spending TV nations in Europe is in the middle of the night – even fanatical young girls are likely to be on enforced bed rest at this time. Secondly, FIFA came to market with the rights late, and after the biggest broadcasters had already allocated their budgets.”

Monarch Collective, a new $100 Million women’s sports fund

Angel City founder Kara Nortman and venture capitalist Jasmine Robinson have launched Monarch Collective, a new US$100 million fund for women’s sports. The group’s early investors include former tennis player Billie Jean King and former Netflix executive Cindy Holland.

  Considering their already high level of development, the WNBA, the NWSL, and England’s Women’s Super League will be the main focus of Monarch Collective. “Some of these leagues have been around for a decade plus, and we’re already seeing the media rights revenue traction, which we think is a really important component. […] High-margin media revenue [is] really driving the flywheel, and the reach and audience expansion that comes along with it,” added Robinson who is one of the co-founders of Angel City Football Club

  Women’s sports investing is certainly happening in these bigger funds, but we’re just hitting this turning-point moment where you can build a real concentrated portfolio solely focused on it. Then you need to have different skillsets, not just financial engineering but also an ability to operate, and enough capital to show up and matter”, Nortman added.

NFL and RedBird Capital Partners join forces on a new venture
to deliver Sunday Ticket to commercial establishments

NFL and RedBird Capital Partners announced, on March the 28th, the launch of EverPass Media, a platform which will hold the exclusive rights to distribute NFL Sunday Ticket to bars, restaurants, hotels, and other commercial venues in the United States from the 2023 NFL season.

  This announcement, made by the NFL during its 2023 Annual Meeting in Phoenix, states that this multi-year license to EverPass Media will provide access to NFL Sunday Ticket for commercial businesses across the country. The service will be available on a non-exclusive basis through all participating cable and satellite providers.

  "Making our games as widely available as possible has been the bedrock of our media strategy and Sunday Ticket's presence in bars, restaurants and other commercial venues provides millions of fans a way to watch all out-of-market games on Sunday afternoons. We look forward to working with EverPass Media to expand the Sunday Ticket footprint in commercial establishments across the country", Brian Rolapp, the NFL's chief media and business officer said.

  "We are excited to partner again with the NFL to develop an innovative platform to expand the league's reach to its fan base and the sports media ecosystem more broadly. Anchored by Sunday Ticket, EverPass Media will provide premium rights holders a scalable live event entertainment service that will enhance the customer experience at commercial establishments across the country", Gerry Cardinale, RedBird founder and managing partner, added.

A record turnover of £140m for Brentford FC in its first year in Premier League

Brentford FC has announced a record turnover, on March the 29th, in its annual financial results for the 2021-2022 season, which is the club’s first ever season in the Premier League.

  The club has registered a record turnover of £140.9m (against £15.3m in 2021), with a record profit before taxation of £29.9m (against a loss of £8.5m in 2021). The club’s operating profit before player trading is of £25.1m (against a loss of £53.2m in 2021). “The significant turnover increase somewhat offset by increased administrative expenses of £45.4m, driven by player wage and player amortization growth, a natural consequence of investment in a playing squad capable of competing at Premier League level”, comments.

  The impact created by the promotion to the Premier League has been game-changing for the club. Promotion was a culmination of years of planning, investment and hard work throughout the club. These financial results reflect the Board’s historic prudence in spending money wisely while concurrently building the club’s on-field and off-field organization capability and investing in the club’s infrastructure. […] Looking forward, in a deteriorating economic environment in which higher salary and overhead costs remain essential to our retaining Premier League status, this financial performance will be difficult to repeat. The Board remains fully committed to building the club in a financially sustainable and responsible manner”, Cliff Crown, Chair of Brentford FC, said.