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Sport1 lands AFC rights in DACH region in first European deal of new cycle

The Asian Football Confederation has sealed the first rights deal in Europe in its new rights cycle, agreeing a two-year contract across Germany, Austria and Switzerland with sports broadcaster Sport1.

The deal for AFC Champions League rights, covering the 2021 and 2022 seasons, was struck by Football Marketing Asia, the AFC’s recently-rebranded exclusive commercial rights agency.

It will be the first time that the AFC Champions League will be broadcast in the three German-speaking countries.

Sport1 will air live matches on its Sport1+ OTT streaming platform, with selected live matches and highlights ‘potentially’ being televised on its free-to-air linear channel.

Patrick Murphy, board member and chief executive at FMA, said that “the partnership with Sport1 marks another progressive step to increase visibility of and access to AFC competitions in Europe”.

Last year’s Asian Cup, the AFC’s flagship national teams tournament, was broadcast in Germany on Eurosport as part of a pan-European rights deal with the Discovery-owned broadcaster.

FMA has a mandate to sell global media and sponsorship rights to all AFC competitions over eight years, from 2021 to 2028. The media rights in the Middle East and North Africa are excluded from the agreement and the AFC has launched territory-by-territory rights sales in the region.

The agency rebranded in June, unveiling new branding and logo, having previously been known as DDMC Fortis.

It has agreed deals for the new AFC rights cycle in Central Asia, Indonesia, South Korea, and Taiwan. However, Murphy told SportBusiness in June that more than a dozen further media and sponsorship rights deals have been finalised but are yet to be announced.

Earlier this month, co-founder and chief operating officer David Tyler departed from FMA and relocated back to Europe for “personal reasons”. Tyler has been retained as an external strategic adviser on “certain key projects”.