Champions League TV Deal Is Breakthrough for Women’s Soccer

Sports streamer DAZN has secured global rights to broadcast UEFA Women’s Champions League soccer in the biggest ever international deal for the fledgling game.

The agreement is worth as much as $8 million a year, according to a person familiar with the matter, and is the first international rights contract for the European club competition. The four-year deal will see matches aired live for free on Google’s YouTube for the first two seasons, according to a joint statement from UEFA and DAZN that didn’t mention the financial terms.

DAZN will then get to air most games on its own platform, which operates in around 200 territories worldwide. Global sports deals came up very rarely and DAZN, since its global launch, is now able to offer itself up as a platform that can exploit such a deal, said Minal Modha, a consumer analyst at London-based media consultant Ampere Analysis. The partnership with YouTube “provides access to a younger and broader audience,” she said.

“This really is a landmark deal for so many reasons,” Modha said. “The free-to-air element of the deal is key.”

The deal doesn’t include the Middle East, where the rights went to Qatar’s BeIN Sports, or China.

Champions League TV Deal Is Breakthrough for Women’s Soccer

There are signs the women’s game is growing in popularity. While the value is still tiny compared to the 1.65 billion euros ($1.96 billion) that UEFA earned for the men’s edition, it’s only recently that the women’s club game has been able to secure international rights.

English women’s Super League champions Chelsea said this month it had sold out of season tickets for the coming season for the first time. That’s after Sky -- the main TV broadcaster for the men’s top-flight English Premier League -- signed a deal to show the Women’s Super League.

UEFA earlier this year said 24 million euros would be redistributed from the women’s Champions League and men’s UEFA club competitions to support the women’s game in Europe.

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