SBD/June 19, 2017/Media

NFL Lays Groundwork For More European Coverage With OTT Service

The NFL has "hired Bruin Sports Capital and British advertising company WPP to help it grow the over-the-top NFL Game Pass service" in Europe, according to John Ourand in this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Until last year, the NFL "managed its European Game Pass service in-house" from L.A. For a "cost of around $200 per season (different markets had different pricing), the league packaged U.S. content into a European service." This fall, Game Pass will start to roll out a service "tailored for different European markets -- both through on-screen statistics and marketing campaigns." Through relationships with Bruin and WPP, Italy-based Deltatre will "handle the technical operations of NFL Game Pass in 61 European countries and territories." Sports marketing agency Two Circles "will market the service." Prices are "likely to continue to vary across the different European markets." One of the reasons the NFL "opted to do this deal was the opportunity to reach deeper into specific markets." Terms of the deal will have Bruin and WPP "jointly forming a London-based company to manage the service." In the next several weeks, Bruin will "announce a CEO and executive for the stand-alone company." Bruin CEO George Pyne "predicted that Game Pass would see significant growth" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 6/19 issue).

MOVING FORWARD: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Matthew Futterman cites sources as saying that the Game Pass venture will "require at least" a $10M investment to "get off the ground, not including marketing." The parties "will share profits from the venture." Last season, Europe "represented roughly 55% of the NFL’s Game Pass subscribers outside the U.S." England and Germany are the "two leading markets." Execs involved in the transaction "believe the revenue Game Pass produces can triple in the coming years." The NFL in May announced that U.K.-based Perform Group "would handle Game Pass sales outside the U.S. and Europe" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/19). 
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