Premier League looking to introduce its own OTT service

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters has confirmed that English soccer’s top flight is developing plans to launch its own over-the-top (OTT) streaming service in the future.

While he didn’t reveal all the finer details, Masters did confirm to UK media that streaming matches directly to the consumer could be an option as early as 2022, when the next rights cycle kicks in.

The launch of an OTT service would not eliminate the Premier League’s method of selling media rights to traditional broadcasters and third-party streaming services, with Masters suggesting instead that the competition will adopt a more mixed approach in the future.

Masters’ comments come a year after it was reported that the Premier League considered trialling an OTT service in Singapore, before opting to sign a three-year extension of its deal with telecommunications company Singtel.

“During the last [rights bidding] process [for the 2019-2022 seasons], we invested a lot of time and resources in building our expertise and capacity in direct-to-consumer,” Masters told reporters.

“We considered whether strategically it would be the right time to test a few markets then and decided not to.

“We were ready last time and we will be ready next time, should the opportunity arise. I’m not saying it will happen in the next cycle, or when it will happen, but eventually the Premier League will move to a mix of direct-to-consumer and media rights sales.

“There is risk associated with it. Sports competitions like the Premier League have been successful in seeking partnerships with established broadcasters and having to secure funding as its model. Secured licensed revenue and direct-to-consumer revenue are entirely different strategies – the transition from one to the other, if and when it ever happens, would be a big moment.”

The Premier League suffered a slight drop in the value of its domestic rights during the last sales process, but an uptick overseas saw the competition bring in a total UK£9.2 billion (AU$17.7 billion) for the three-year cycle from 2019 to 2022, representing an increase of eight per cent.

They have already started selling rights for the 2022 to 2025 cycle. Swedish media giant Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT Group) was the first to announce a deal last week, signing a landmark six-year contract covering Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland which was reported by UK media to be worth a whopping UK£2 billion (AU$3.8 billion).

“We have every reason to be optimistic about the future of sports rights,” Masters said.

“I don’t think the bubble has burst because our business is effectively hedged between domestic performance and international.

“The domestic rights did go down by a small margin last time round, but off the back of two big leaps. International revenue has continued to grow and I have no reason to believe it won’t continue to do so.”

However, according to analysis by the Daily Mail, the Premier League could stand to significantly increase its revenue by switching from traditional media rights sales to a global OTT service.

Based on the estimation that the Premier League has 200 million fans worldwide currently paying to watch the competition, the UK newspaper calculated that a UK£10 monthly subscription would theoretically see the league rake in UK£24 billion (AU$46.3 billion) each year.

The Premier League would not be the first major European soccer rights holder to launch its own OTT service. UEFA, the continental governing body, launched its free Uefa.tv service last year, while Spain’s La Liga runs LaLigaSportsTV, which aims to boost the visibility and exposure of all Spanish sport, while it also streamed a number of major pre-season soccer games last summer.

Next season Germany’s Bundesliga is launching an OTT platform for live matches in key markets where it does not receive an adequate rights bid.

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Liam Watson is the Co-Founder & Publisher of Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy, industry matters and technology.

FIFPRO Asia/Oceania partake in productive divisional assembly in Singapore

FIFPRO Asia/Oceania engaged in positive talks at the divisional assembly in Singapore for new ambitious strategies for Asian football.

The assembly involved a dialogue between interested sponsors and shareholders with the representatives of 10 Asian FIFAPRO member, candidate, and observer unions.

On the first day, the assembly discussed the central piece of future movements with the FIFPRO Asia/Oceania 2023-2026 strategic framework which allows for streamlining of the collective unions’ player-centred practices and plans.

This included each of the unions presenting effective strategies with the assembly and open discussion on how to improve past strategies that have struggled to enhance the player’s experience and the sports industry.

The second day placed certain player representatives and association shareholders in conversation over a more collaborative focus on the structure of Asian football going into the 2025-26 season.

Importantly, data from the FIFAPRO initiative ‘The Asian Champions League Report’ and other competitions including the AFC Asian Cup, AFC Women’s Club Championship and Olympic Qualifiers were used as first-hand evidence of ways in which more player-based management of football will be beneficial in the new strategies.

The growth of the ever-important tech industry in the sport was evident at the FIFPRO Asia/Oceania Player IQ Tech Summit.

Especially the potential for player data capturing in the industry, this summit highlighted how the profitable sector can work well with improving unions’ data research to influence policy and can further elevate their voice within the confederation.

For football, a stronger dialogue between the player’s unions and their respective Asian football institutions and investors will be able to create a more concise strategy for the future p where shareholders can engage in more business advancement while still allowing the players to have an important say in the way in which the game is going.

As Asia itself is such a strong region in the growth of entrepreneurs and business, it is only obvious that connecting this industry with the tradition of player power will be a massive opportunity.

This assemblies focus was accurately outlined by the FIFPRO Asia/Oceania chairperson Takuya Yamazaki.

“Our collective challenge is to design an industry that aligns the collective interests of all stakeholders, rather than continuing with the current hierarchical model which largely defines global football,” he said via media release.

“As football in the region continues to evolve, the division’s role, and the players’ voice, will only become more important, and that’s where our strategic framework provides a clear vision for our current and future work.”

These assemblies reiterate how strong professional leagues where strategies are impacted by players and their unions are profitable and beneficial for the association’s shareholders.

Football Coaches Australia presents: The Modern Requirements of Midfield players

Football Coaches Australia (FCA), together with renowned UEFA Pro Licence Coach Martin Hunter, will host the online event: The Modern Requirements of Midfield players (Technically/Tactically/Physically/Mentally).

Held from 7:30pm AEST on Monday, May 20, the online event will focus on the essential skills and qualities needed for a midfielder to succeed in today’s game.

Split into four key elements that make up midfield play, attendees will learn about the technical skills needed to excel on the field, the tactical awareness required to control the game, the physical attributes necessary to dominate the midfield, and the mental toughness needed to thrive under pressure.

Martin is one of the best coach educators in the game, with his internationally acknowledged coaching and football management expertise that has helped to develop players, coaches and managers.

He is also vastly experienced at professional club and national governing body levels as Director of Coaching and National Coach – which has seen him develop coaching and scouting systems used in national and international models of excellence.

Martin has worked at Southampton FC in a variety of roles that included Technical Director, as well as Watford FC, Norwich FC and Stoke City as First Team Coach. He was involved in the English FA as a Coaching Mentor and a Regional Coach and has consulted widely throughout Europe.

This online session will contribute 1 hour of FA approved CPD and is free for FCA members.

This is an opportunity not to be missed to dominate the middle of the park.

You can register via the link here: https://ow.ly/zWxn50RCY0l

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