DAZN removes paywall on women’s football including the Champions League to encourage growth

British sports streaming service DAZN revealed its decision to cancel the subscription fee for women’s football content throughout the remaining 2023-24 season in the UK, in order to help promote the women’s game.

Its New Deal for Women’s Football campaign has been introduced to help boost investment and make the women’s game financially sustainable.

The New Deal campaign is calling for clubs, sponsors, media and broadcasters and rights holders to get involved and come together to build a major global commercial sport.

The original strategy that was outlined in the agreement was that in the initial two years of the broadcast deal (21/22 & 22/23 seasons), where all 61 matches were available for free viewing.

Then in the 2023/24 season it moved to a subscription-based model, locking out fans from being able to view the games live on DAZN or its YouTube channel for free.

This announcement affects all Women’s Champions League matches, as well as the Women’s leagues in Spain, Germany, France, Italy, and Saudi Arabia, which will now be accessible without cost.

This means the remaining 29 Champions League matches, 48 Liga F matches, 48 in Frauen Bundesliga, 15 Saudi Women’s league and 50 in the Italian Serie A Femminile will be broadcast for free in the UK.

DAZN released a statement last Thursday that mentioned the reason why the streaming company decided to make the games free.

“This will drive audience growth and provide a new global home for women’s football, offering greater access to games, content and the international women’s football community,” confirming that the decision is part of its new campaign to “ensure a commercially robust future for women’s football.”

DAZN’s co-CEO of women’s sport, Hannah Brown explained what this move means for the future of the sport.

“The women’s game has significant commercial potential,” she said in a statement.

“Without it [the New Deal campaign] a golden opportunity to accelerate growth is lost.”

The numbers released by DAZN since the start of their partnership agreement with the Women’s CL also suggest that there is a magnification on women’s football.

In the competition’s inaugural broadcast year for the 2021/22 final they got 3.6 million in global viewership and a cumulative viewership of 64 million. This went up to 5.1 million for the 22/23 final and an 87 million cumulative global viewership total.

The decision to make women’s football accessible is the right one at the expense of money earned through subscriptions. The best way to grow the sport is to maintain a healthy audience and to not restrict women’s football from the masses in its time of extreme growth.

FIFPRO Asia/Oceania report of AFC Champions League assesses the cost of competition for players and clubs

FIFPRO Asia/Oceania has published a report on key financial findings from the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) flagship club competition, the AFC Champions League (ACL).

The report, AFC Champions League Analysis Report: Counting the cost for players and clubs, was produced alongside sporting intelligence agency Twenty First Group (TFG).

This analysis is in response to the announcement of AFC Champions League Elite (ACLE) commencing in July this year, as revealed by the AFC in December 2022.

Based on TFG’s analysis, insights and feedback from participating players and clubs, the report addresses the feasibility of running ACLE with key factors including on-field quality and competitive balance, attendances and fan engagement, economics for clubs and players, travel and workload, competition design, and football development outcomes.

The research undertaken focusses on the value of introducing ACLE, based on the current operations of the ACL.

“This report analyses the merits and drawbacks of the current AFC Champions League based on various data and the results indicate that the merits do not outweigh the drawbacks for most players and clubs, making it an unsustainable system,” FIFPRO Asia/Oceania Chair Takuya Yamazaki outlines in the report.

“However, this does not mean that the future of football in Asia is bleak. On the contrary, we believe that this economically significant region can lead a discussion for truly sustainable competition formats.”

The report is the most comprehensive public analysis of the ACL and includes recommendations for what the AFC should be implementing.

“For players, the development of competitions is central to their employment conditions and future opportunities. As its primary workforce, the players are determined to play their role to shape a sustainable and innovation-driven future for the football sector in Asia,” Yamazaki added.

World Leagues Forum is involved in representing professional football leagues on a global level. General Secretary Jerome Perlemuter explained that collaboration between all stakeholders in the Asian region would help shape and deliver sustainable competitions.

“FIFPRO’s contribution to shaping the future of Asian continental competitions is most welcome,” Perlemuter said.

“Sustainable football development requires confederations, leagues and players to work together with a common objective to shape high potential continental competitions in a consistent global calendar. In this context, it is important to consider economic, geographical and cultural specificities. We look forward to continuing these discussions with FIFPRO and all stakeholders.”

To see the report in full, you can do so here.

Wellington Phoenix team up with Chinese outfit Tianjin Tiger

Wellington Phoenix have partnered with Chinese Super League team Tianjin Tiger to boost football growth in both nations.

As part of the Wellington Phoenix Tianjin Tiger Sister City Friendship, the clubs have agreed to hold an annual encounter between their men’s first teams.

The inaugural Wellington Phoenix F.C. vs. Tianjin Tiger F.C. Sister City Shield match is set to take place in Tianjin this September, with the second in Wellington next year.

The strategic collaboration was formed after Phoenix general manager David Dome visited Tianjin in September as part of a business delegation headed by Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau.

The club hosted a delegation from Tianjin, and the two sides signed the Memorandum of Understanding at the Mayor’s office.

Phoenix general manager David Dome was thrilled with the partnership going through.

“The mayoral delegation to China last year was invaluable and I’m thrilled about this partnership with Tianjin Jinmen Tiger, which will be of benefit to the club on multiple levels,” he said via press release.

“Not only will the men get to play a Chinese Super League side as part of their A-League pre-season each year, but the academy will soon benefit from an influx of footballers from Tianjin.

“We’re looking to grow our academy to have an international component and Tianjin Jinmen have committed to sending some young players to Wellington to attend training camps in July and we’re discussing the possibility of their juniors being part of a new international academy annual programme.

“International students are essential for the secondary and tertiary education sector in Wellington and we are evaluating how an elite international academy focused on football can be part of New Zealand’s international education offering.”

Wellington mayor Tory Whanau added that the city is excited about the opportunity. 

“I’d like to congratulate David Dome and the wider team for the work they’ve done on this MoU,” he stated via press release.

“I’m beyond stoked that the delegation last September has resulted in this MoU between the Wellington Phoenix and Tianjin Jinmen Tiger. 

“The development opportunities for both the clubs will be invaluable to not only football but also our cities.”

The Phoenix are enjoying a successful A-league campaign where they currently sit top of the table 18 games into the season.

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