Written by Kate Holton
LONDON (Reuters) – TV broadcasters who have spent billions of dollars to obtain the right to broadcast Champions League matches have denounced a project by some of the biggest clubs in Europe to form the dissident Premier League, and said the initiative posed a threat to the future of the league. Sports.
The news that 12 clubs, including Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester United, have united to create a new competition that could undermine existing media contracts that help fund the sport.
If the new league continues, media groups at risk of seeing their current rights’ value disappear will have to decide whether they want to fight for new matches, perhaps against competitors like Amazon or ESPN, according to analysts.
The Financial Times said Superliga organizers have held initial discussions with some broadcasters, seeking to secure deals with companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Disney (owner of ESPN) and Comcast-owned Sky, which would increase current annual revenues by € 4 billion.
Facebook and a source familiar with the situation at Amazon said on Monday that they were not talking about broadcast rights.
Analysts said Amazon and ESPN could be in the lead to buy the rights to the new league’s bid, as they have fewer ties to the unions that currently control broadcast contracts.
Media analyst Ian Whitaker said, “Traditional broadcasters, such as Sky, may be more paralyzed because they will complicate ties with their other contracts (for example, international football tournaments or national leagues).”
BT, which has the rights to show the UEFA Champions League in the UK, Mediapro, from Spain, and the live streaming service DAZN, has condemned or distanced itself from the Super League proposal.
In the event that the Premier League continues, the news will threaten not only the viability of the Champions League, but also the importance of the national championships, after the authorities warned that any club or player participating in the new competition could be banned from all other competitions.
Copyright © Thomson Reuters.
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