Triller-owned streaming platform, FITE, has secured exclusive rights to the AFC Champions League in the UK, Ireland, Belgium, France and the Netherlands. This move marks the platform's latest effort to diversify beyond combat sports.
Since its inception in 2012, New York-based FITE has primarily operated as a dedicated combat sports streaming platform. However, in recent years, the platform has been making significant strides to diversify its content offerings.
FITE Vice President of Subscriptions, Adam Bigwood, said:
“We are delighted to bring the AFC Champions League to our FITE+ subscribers in these territories."
“This partnership not only bolsters our rapidly expanding sports content library but also underscores our commitment to delivering top-notch sports entertainment to our fans.”
FITE's content slate still predominantly features combat sports promotions such as the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC), Major League Wrestling (MLW), Triller Fight Club and Game Changer Wrestling (GCW). However, the platform has also shown interest in other sports.
Notably, FITE struck a deal to broadcast the delayed 2021 Rugby League World Cup across multiple territories, including the US, Germany, Italy and Spain. It is also showing CONMEBOL qualifiers for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
FITE's deal for the 2023/24 AFC Champions League season
The deal for the 2023/24 season grants FITE coverage of the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) premier club competition, which features teams from across the continent, including Saudi Arabia, Japan, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Australia. All games will be streamed live on the FITE+ over-the-top (OTT) service.
The AFC Champions League group stages kicked off on September 18, with four teams from the Saudi Pro League competing this season. The Saudi Pro League has been making waves in football, spending significant sums on high-profile players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante and Sadio Mane. This investment aims to establish an elite domestic football league and stimulate further national growth.
FITE boasts more than seven million registered users and has been actively expanding its reach. The platform offers a free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) channel, FITE 24/7, and has struck various carriage deals, including with Virgin TV in the UK.
The appeal of the AFC Champions League
FITE's interest in the AFC Champions League has been stimulated by the enhanced profile of the Saudi Pro League following its summer spending spree. The same could be said of DAZN, which will broadcast up to three live matches a week from the Saudi top flight in the UK, Germany and Austria this season in an agreement reportedly worth US$500,000.
Assuming FITE has not had to make a significant financial investment, its deal for the AFC Champions League appears to be a relatively low-risk venture. The platform hopes that the appeal of globally recognised football players and the novelty of the Saudi Pro League will attract audiences and introduce them to FITE’s wider live sports offering.
FITE's acquisition of the AFC Champions League rights marks a significant step in the platform's diversification beyond combat sports. This move could potentially attract a new audience of football fans, further expanding FITE's user base and reach.
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