EFL looks to sell overseas broadcast rights on the open market

Craig Hanson 1 month ago

Current deal brings in £23m annually but the Football League hopes to increase that figure

Bosses at the EFL are set to put the overseas broadcasting rights of matches on sale in order to boost revenue. The current deal they have with international broadcasters ends at the end of this season and they hope to sign a more lucrative one for the next cycle. This comes as the popularity of EFL competitions, in particular the Championship, continues to grow globally. Any deal made would be for two years only, due to uncertainty surrounding the future of the EFL Cup, also known as the Carabao Cup.

The EFL signed a new agreement with Thai drinks company Carabao earlier this season to continue their partnership until 2024. Despite this renewal of the existing deal between them, the very existence of England's third tier cup competition is in doubt as UEFA unveil plans to vastly expand the size of the UEFA Champions League which would leave even less space in an already congested football calendar for Carabao Cup games. For this reason, the sale of EFL football rights on the open market can only be subject to a two year contract at this time as the potential quashing of the cup would have an impact on the deal. 

The Championship, League One and League Two attract a combined 500 million viewers each year in 150 countries worldwide and the league is desperate to take advantage of this growing popularity. Global audiences are drawn to English lower league football for its high level of competitiveness and unpredictability, the historic rivalries between its clubs and its passionate supporters. Factors like these are why the Championship especially is one of the most watched leagues in Europe.

The current deal, which was negotiated via an agency, between the EFL and its international broadcast partners was worth £115m in total, equating to at least £23m per year. The league thinks it can improve on that figure and will attempt to do so by inviting offers. It has started the process by issuing a Request for Proposal (FRP) to find out who might be interested in acquiring those overseas rights. It expects potential buyers to suggest how they plan to maximise income, integrate social media into their broadcasting and collaborate with iFollow, the league's streaming service which was a lifeline for many fans during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The league has also agreed a £1m deal with Puma to take over the sponsorship of footballs used by clubs in the three leagues, the Carabao Cup and the Papa John's Trophy. The German sports clothing brand will supply the new balls for use in the 1,891 matches across all five competitions during the next three seasons. This move ends the 45 year partnership between the EFL and previous sponsor Mitre.

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