UEFA Deal Offers Risk, Big Potential Reward For CAA
UEFA surprisingly last week chose a newly created subsidiary of CAA Sports to exclusively sell the commercial rights for Euro 2016 as well as qualifying events for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, marking the agency's biggest push -- and gamble -- into the lucrative global soccer business, according to Liz Mullen of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The subsidiary, CAA Eleven, was chosen over fellow finalists IMG and Sportfive after an almost eight-month process that was thought to have drawn interest from dozens of companies, said CAA Managing Director Michael Rubel. It is the largest global commercial rights assignment for CAA. CAA also represents Chelsea FC and FC Barcelona for property sales. While it is not clear exactly how much the rights are worth, Euro 2012 generated in excess of $1.6B in revenue, according to published reports. Rubel said that CAA began planning to bid for the rights early this year, and during the spring it began conversations with veteran media execs Olivier Guiguet and Stéphane Schindler, who left Lagardère Group-owned Sportfive last year. Guiguet will serve as CEO and Schindler as COO of CAA Eleven; both are partners with CAA Sports in the new company. Mark Noonan, president of sports marketing firm FocalSport and former executive vice president of MLS, said: "It is a huge coup for CAA. It is one of the biggest properties in the soccer world and one of the crown jewels out there." UEFA reportedly has guaranteed the 53 federations it governs more than $1B as part of the deal with CAA Eleven. UEFA did not respond to requests for comment. Rubel said that CAA made no guarantee as part of the deal. Rubel said, "This is a straight agency relationship. The rights weren’t bought and there is no guarantee" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/8 issue).