SBC’s On The Ball – Chelsea, The EFL and Real Betis

From sponsorship to the ever-expanding world of football media coverage, when it comes to the business of football, SBC has you covered. This edition looks at Chelsea’s expansion efforts as well as a dispute over EFL broadcasting rights.

Sky Sports nets EFL broadcasting extension

This week, Sky Sports announced an extension to its partnership with the EFL, however the record £595m deal has caused disruption amongst Championship clubs.  

The extension means that until 2024, Sky Sports will broadcast 138 live league games every season. The broadcaster will also maintain rights every play-offs tie from the Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two.

Barney Francis, Sky Sports’ managing director, commented: “We’re delighted to finalise our agreement with the EFL and give certainty to its clubs, their fans and our customers for five more years.

“By confirming this deal with the EFL Sky Sports gets even stronger, alongside 128 Premier League games, the home of F1 and English cricket – the rights that matter most to our customers are secure into the next decade.”

Nonetheless, the deal has caused a backlash, with many Championship clubs outlining a belief that the more broadcast sides deserve a greater share of the rights, which are significant to the revenue of Championship clubs.

Further asserting its dominance of UK football broadcasting, Sky Sports also announced this week it will become the exclusive broadcaster of the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership from 2020, confirming a five-year deal with the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL).

UK news sources have reported that Sky Sports blew competitor BT Sports out of the water with a £100 million package, bolstering its dedicated ‘Sky Football’ programming for 2020.

Neil Doncaster, Chief Executive of the SPFL commented: “I am delighted that we have been able to secure an exclusive partnership with the UK’s leading sports broadcaster. This deal demonstrates Sky Sports’ commitment to showcasing the pinnacle of Scottish football.”

Real Betis looks to Amazon for European growth 

La Liga side Real Betis has partnered with Amazon in a bid to strengthen its relationship with its fans from all over Europe.

The Seville based club becomes the first in Spain to form this type of partnership, as the official shop goes live simultaneously on Amazon.es, Amazon.it, Amazon.fr, Amazon. of and Amazon.co.uk. 

This project is part of the international development strategy of Real Betis, which the club has been pursuing in recent years to strengthen its presence on a global level.

“Real Betis has millions of fans in the world and is currently competing in European competitions, for us it is very important to bring the Club’s official products to all our fans inside and outside of Spain and thanks to Amazon we have opened simultaneously stores in five countries in Europe”, says the General Director of Business of Real Betis, Ramón Alarcón.

It comes after SSC Napoli became the first football club to launch an integrated ‘brandstore’ on the Amazon digital retail platform in July.

Chelsea elevates connection with Chinese supporters 

Former Premier League champions, Chelsea are looking to elevate engagement with the club’s audience in China, becoming the first side to introduce a pre-match show specifically for the country.

The show, which is titled ‘The Chelsea Report’ will feature ten-minute-long segments in Mandarin, providing Chelsea’s Chinese fans with matchday highlights, analysis and a fan engagement section which allows Blues fans to select their man of the match.

Chelsea’s marketing director, Gary Twelvetree commented: “Chelsea Football Club enjoys a very strong following in China and we are always looking for ways to better engage with our loyal and passionate supporters in the country.”

Bundesliga eradicates Monday night football

After mass protests from German supporters, the German Football Association (DFL) has announced it will cease scheduling Monday night Bundesliga matches.

The inaugural Monday night fixture took place last February, it was met with much discontent from German fans, with Eintracht Frankfurt supporters invading the pitch and causing mass disruptions to the tie.