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As AFL Right’s Decision Looms Soccer Is Generating Billions

With the AFL set to announce who has the TV and streaming rights from 2025 shortly, the increased cost to networks is going to look cheap when compared to sporting rights in the USA where soccer is not even a mainstream sport, yet it’s attracting big dollars.

The Union of European Football Associations UEFA is pretty confident that they can get close to A$3 billion from a six year broadcast deal with several players who operate in Australia believed to be in the running including Paramount + who met with the AFL, Amazon Prime who are also said to be in the running for AFL rights along with Comcast’s NBC, Walt Disney, ESPN, Paramount Global, CBS, Apple Fox Corp, and Warner Bros Discovery.

The A$3-billion-dollar fee if they get it will be more than double what UEFA gets every year under current agreements, according to people familiar with the negotiations.

If this formula applies to AFL networks could be paying a lot more than the $670M that the last lot of rights generated for the AFL.

The group is expected to post a document on its website Monday inviting companies to submit offers for the annual tournament, which features Europe’s top soccer teams. The deadline for bidding is Aug. 15.

Currently Paramount and Univision hold the US rights to the Champions League currently.

The two pays about $145 million per year combined, with Paramount paying more as Americans take to European soccer.

The UEFA Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Liverpool, two of the most popular teams, attracted 2.8 million viewers on CBS in May.

That was the largest audience for a final in the US on English-language television. It also was the largest streaming audience for a soccer match on Paramount+.

Soccer has become the go-to sports property of the streaming era because of its young, digital-savvy global fan base. Several media companies, including Paramount, ESPN, and NBC, have used the sport to boost their online offerings according to Bloomberg.

It has also been attractive to tech giants that are newcomers to sports broadcasting. Last month, Apple secured the long-term rights to stream Major League Soccer, while Amazon won the rights to broadcast the Champions League in the UK for the first time.

In November, Comcast’s NBC agreed to pay more than A$3.7 billion over six years to renew the US rights to broadcast English Premier League matches.

That was almost three times the previous deal. Apple is paying a minimum guarantee of $300 million + per year for Major League Soccer rights, nearly triple the value under the previous agreement, according to Sports Business Journal.

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