Frank Dunne

The NFL League is at a pivotal moment in its distribution of media rights outside the US. Deals in two of the league’s most important overseas territories, the UK and China, are up for renewal. The league is also thought to be looking for a new partner for its rights across Europe.

Italy’s Lega Serie A will launch a tender in April for its domestic media rights for the three seasons from 2021-22 to 2023-24, SportBusiness Media understands. The delay opens space for the resolution of several outstanding issues that have, so far, complicated the process.

Belgian Pro League clubs will be able to exploit near-live clips on their own digital subscription platforms in the next rights cycle: the first time European clubs have been able to do so without long hold-back periods.

Sports marketing companies and private equity houses bidding to become the vehicle for the delivery of Fifa’s new China-hosted club competition in 2021 will face the same challenge: the competition is only likely to be successful if a Chinese company is involved.

The differing treatment of media operators in the latest Belgian Pro League domestic rights tender is justifiable as a way of increasing competition, according to the country’s competition authority.

There are two truisms in the sale of sports media rights which at first glance appear difficult to reconcile. One is that every market has a unique set of characteristics and the value earned is contingent upon those characteristics at the moment the rights are sold. The other is that the early deals in a market-by-market sales cycle create a psychological benchmark which affects how sales in the following markets play out.

The Italian football league is finalising its guidelines for the tender process which must be approved by the country’s competition and communication authorities. The process is likely to be more complicated, controversial and political than the equivalent processes anywhere else. Story by Frank Dunne.

Paul Rehrig, general manager, Eurosport Digital, talks about Discovery’s deal with Twitter for coverage of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo

The deal struck this week between US media group Discovery and social media platform Twitter for coverage of the 2020 summer Olympic Games in Tokyo is expected to be the first of many such clip and highlights deals, as Discovery looks for additional ways to monetise its substantial investment in the rights in Europe.

At stake is the future funding of elite sport through the sale of media rights.

Italian public broadcaster Rai acquired the exclusive rights to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan at a two-thirds reduction in value from the previous edition after a long stand-off between the company’s internal departments.

The success of Fifa’s centralisation of media rights to World Cup qualifiers involving African nations depends almost entirely on two deals: one covering the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) and a pan-regional deal for sub-Saharan Africa. About 95 per cent of the value of the rights is generated by these two markets, but both are highly problematic.