EFL sells foreign broadcasting rights to cash in on English football’s popularity

EFL to sell foreign broadcast rights to cash in on the popularity of English football, with Championship, League One and Two matches already drawing 500 million viewers in 150 countries around the world

  • EFL currently has a £23m-a-year guarantee for the sale of overseas rights through an agency, but the league hopes to increase that figure despite a tough market
  • Championship is one of the most watched competitions in Europe, further underlining its appeal
  • Rights sale spans two years due to uncertainty over the future of the Carabao Cup as UEFA expands the Champions League

The EFL is selling its overseas broadcasting rights to capitalize on the popularity of English football and maximize revenue for its 72 clubs.

The competition is currently guaranteed at least £23 million a year from international broadcasters, but despite a challenging market, it hopes to see that figure increase in the next rights sale.

While the Premier League is the crown jewels of global football, the Championship, League One and Two also have lasting appeal.

Norwich City (pictured) won promotion to the Premier League after winning the championship

Under existing arrangements, where matches are sold through an agency, Pitch International, 500 million people watch EFL action in 150 countries every year.

The Championship is one of the most watched competitions in European football, in terms of attendance, according to the organization of the European Leagues, underscoring the potential value of the EFL in the broadcasting market.

The Bundesliga, Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and the Dutch Eredivisie topped the list, but the championship ranked seventh in the survey, published in 2018.

England’s League One was sixteenth in the list, beating many of Europe’s higher divisions. Its appeal is attributed to the unpredictability of the league and cup competitions, as well as the atmosphere generated by the English football rivalry.

Cambridge United won promotion to League One of the competitive English football pyramid

Cambridge United won promotion to League One of the competitive English football pyramid

EFL DEALS THIS YEAR

The EFL is steadily strengthening its commercial position after a desperate 18 months caused by the Covid pandemic.

Earlier this year, the league expanded its partnership with Carabao, through which the Thai drinks company will continue to support the league cup until 2024, in a deal now worth a total of £42 million.

The two-year extension was worth £12 million.

In addition, the EFL signed a nearly £1 million deal with PUMA to supply the league’s 72 clubs with match balls in all competitions from next season.

With the surprise announcement, PUMA will replace Miter, who have been supplying the league’s footballs for 45 years.

The new balls will be used in the 1,891 matches that football league clubs will play each season for the next three years in the Sky Bet Championship, League One, League Two, Carabao Cup and Papa John’s Trophy.

The current five-year overseas rights deal, worth a total of £115 million, will expire at the end of next season and today the EFL has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to parties to express interest.

Sports post understands that it wants to sell the rights for a period of two years given the uncertainty over the future of the Carabao Cup, as UEFA’s controversial plans to drastically expand the Champions League could shorten the dates available on the football calendar .

At this stage, the competition wants potential buyers to point out how to maximize revenue and combine traditional broadcasting with social media and its own streaming service, iFollow, which has become increasingly important during the pandemic.

The EFL recruited independent consultant Oliver and Ohlbaum Associates (R&D) last year to advise on maximizing revenues from international rights sales.

EFL Chief Commercial Officer, Ben Wright said: “Over the past 12 months, we have worked closely with our advisors to find the best possible approach to the sale of our future international broadcasting rights as we near the closing of our existing deal and taking into account current market conditions.

“The EFL continues to be one of the most unpredictable and exciting competitions in the League and is also home to a cup competition that consistently offers opportunities for player development and showcases some of the world’s best players.”

In 2016, the EFL and Pitch announced an extension of their international rights agreement, and the deal represented a 68 percent increase over the previous agreement.

The league sold domestic broadcasting rights to Sky TV in 2018 in a five-year deal worth £595 million.

Domestic rights sales drew complaints from some Championship clubs, who felt they did not realize the value of the league’s media rights and feared that digital options for midweek matches would undermine attendance.

Following that sale, the EFL commissioned an independent report to assess how it negotiates TV deals.

Manchester City lifted the Carabao Cup in April, which is a major draw for broadcasters

Manchester City lifted the Carabao Cup in April, which is a major draw for broadcasters

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