TEAM Marketing's Martin Wagner Predicts Growth In Champions League TV Rights Fees
TEAM Marketing delegate to the board Martin Wagner said at the Int'l Football Arena conference that the "UEFA Champions League Final delivered with a global TV audience of over 170 million, the highest global audience for a sports event so far in 2013," according to Paul Nicholson of INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. TEAM, which markets the Champions League and Europa League for UEFA and does so as its exclusive business, currently generates $1.85B annually for UEFA and Wagner said that will grow and the "clubs will be happy." Behind the leap in the growth of TV rights fees in recent years "has been the entrance of advertiser funded channels as serious bidders for rights, generating competition, and pay TV providing a home for sport with dedicated channels." Mid-week, prime-time football featuring the best clubs in Europe "guarantees solid and valuable TV audiences for broadcasters." Wagner: "We have seen the effect of this in the UEFA Champions League. In 1995 to 97, over 95 percent of the revenues came from commercial or Public Service Broadcasters; in the current cycle, over 50 percent of revenues now come from pay TV partners. Digital TV research estimates that, by 2018, the number of pay TV subscribers will exceed 1 billion, a 23 percent increase compared to today." Wagner said that "selling football rights is not just about putting them side-by-side on the sports supermarket shelf and letting the rights-buying customer choose and negotiate a price." It is actually "becoming more complicated than ever before and requires a more integrated approach." The first trend "is in the sponsorship market." Wagner "quoted the PWC valuation of the global sports market" at $130B, of which $40B is sponsorship, up from $27B in '06. This "will continue to rise with the real growth opportunity coming in the area of virtual advertising" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 10/31).