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Broadcasters battle for UEFA Champions League rights in Africa

Published: Updated: 13:44, 30 Nov 2023
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UCL media rights in Sub-Saharan Africa are officially on sale as various media companies look to secure them

Media rights for three UEFA club competitions have hit the market in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, sparking interest among broadcasters and sports fans alike. The deadline for interested parties to submit their bids is set for 11 December 2023.

The 'Invitation to Submit Offer' (ISO) was issued on 27 November, covering three major UEFA tournaments: the UEFA Champions League, the Opening Tournament, and the Youth League. These rights will cover three seasons from 2024-25 through to 2026-27.

UEFA's sports marketing agency, TEAM Marketing will oversee this tender process as it does with other regions except for the US. This comes shortly after similar bidding contests were launched in Vietnam on 6 November and Albania on 8 November.

Canal+ and SuperSport facing competition for UCL rights

Currently, Canal+ Afrique and SuperSport hold UEFA’s rights to broadcast its most high-profile competition - The Champions League - with SuperSport having exclusive rights in South Africa.

Both broadcasters share non-exclusive rights across other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa where they divide their coverage along language lines; SuperSport provides English and Portuguese coverage while Canal+ offers French commentary.

However, these two broadcasters may face stiff competition over the coming months as FIFA has also launched a bidding contest for broadcasting rights of both the men's World Cup in 2026 and the Women’s World Cup in 2027 which has an ISO deadline of just two days later than that of UEFA's tender process.

SuperSport currently dominates World Cup broadcasting but Canal+ remains a strong contender. Furthermore, Canal+ could find itself embroiled in more high-profile bidding wars as it also seeks a fresh tender for French Ligue 1 rights.

It should be noted that bidding processes are held separately by UEFA when it comes to the rights for other tournaments such as the Europa League, Europa Conference League, and the UEFA Super Cup.

The coming months promise to be exciting times for sports fans and broadcasters in Sub-Saharan Africa. With UEFA Champions League rights up for grabs, along with FIFA's World Cup broadcasting rights and French Ligue 1 rights, we can expect fierce competition among broadcasters.

This will not only shape the future of sports broadcasting in the region but also potentially offer more viewing options to fans.

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