Uefa launches free-to-air OTT platform

European football’s governing body Uefa launched on Thursday a free-to-air OTT streaming platform to show live and on-demand video content from various competitions, including national leagues, with the German Bundesliga the first to be broadcast.

The service, which is called UEFA.tv, will offer a wide range of ancillary and archive content as well as live coverage of youth, women’s and futsal Uefa competitions in relevant markets.

“UEFA.tv will not be competing with TV channels but would rather be complementary by taking advantage of the wide range of content available at UEFA, including archive footage, delayed games, magazine programmes or futsal, women’s and grassroots competitions. In addition, it could be used by UEFA’s 55 federations to increase their global reach and visibility,” Uefa said in a statement.

Germany’s Bundesliga is the first body to partner with the platform. Its agreement with Uefa will see the creation of a separate Bundesliga channel on the OTT platform from the 2019-20 season. The channel will show Monday highlights of weekend matches and shows such as the ‘Bundesliga Special’, which is targeted at international viewers. It will also show classic Bundesliga matches and classic Champions League matches involving German teams.

“The digital landscape is evolving and we need to be in a position where we can anticipate and respond to these changes,” said Uefa president Aleksander Čeferin.

“UEFA is an innovative organisation and by introducing this platform, we will be making football and our competitions more accessible to supporters around the world. Our partnership with the Bundesliga is yet another example of the unity of European football and clearly demonstrates our desire to address future opportunities together for the promotion of our sport.”

Bundesliga content on UEFA.tv will initially be available in major European markets such as the UK, Italy, Poland, Russia, Spain and Turkey as well as the Middle East and Africa.

Earlier this year, Spain’s LaLiga launched the LaLigaSportsTV OTT service, while the English Premier League is working with global professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal on an OTT platform for its next rights cycle, from 2022-23 onward.