EXCLUSIVE: FA breaks $1bn barrier for international media rights in deals with Pitch and IMG

England’s Football Association is set to break the billion-dollar barrier for its international media rights, excluding the UK, in deals agreed this week with the IMG and Pitch International agencies, TV Sports Markets understands.

According to several industry sources, Pitch has been awarded the rights in two key regions: Western Europe and the Middle East and North Africa. IMG has secured the rights in the rest of the world.

Informed sources say the total value of the two deals is in excess of $1bn (€892m) over the six seasons from 2018-19 to 2023-24, or close to $167m per season. This would be more than double the FA’s current income from its international rights in deals with a mixture of agencies and media groups.

The outcome of the deal arguably justifies the FA’s strategy of opening up the rights to global agency and broadcaster bids rather than selling the rights on a market-by-market basis. The strategy was drawn up after the association received several aggressive unsolicited offers from agencies this summer.

It is thought that Pitch won its rights in the first round of bids. The battle for the remaining rights came down to a head-to-head battle between IMG and the Infront Sports & Media agency.

The FA has already sold its rights in the UK. In April, it extended a deal with public-service broadcaster the BBC and pay-television broadcaster BT Sport for three seasons, from 2018-19 to 2020-21.

The association still has betting streaming rights, near-live clip rights and virtual reality rights to sell.