SBC’s On The Ball – DAZN, Eleven Sports and the Copa Libertadores

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 the postponed Copa Libertadores final and a broadcasting expansion for DAZN.

Copa Libertadores heads to the Santiago Bernabeu

After the second leg of the Copa Libertadores Final was postponed twice due to fans attacking the Boca Juniors bus prior to kick-off at the River’s Monumental stadium, there’s been much speculation about where the eagerly anticipated second leg would eventually take place.

South America’s governing body, CONMEBOL, has finally found a venue to determine the fiercely contested derby, announcing the game will be played at Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu on 9 December.

A statement released by CONMEBOL President Alejandro Dominquez detailed: “The administration has elected to hold the Copa Libertadores final return leg in front of both sets of supporters, in Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday the 9th.

“Those of us who know the beautiful game know that it is only about winning and losing, not killing or dying.”

The group also detailed that River Plate have received a fine of $400,000 (£313,000) because of the events that took place prior to the scheduled second leg. When the second leg takes place at the Bernabeu both sides will get the same allocation.

The tie is delicately poised after the first leg in Boca finished in a dramatic 2-2 draw.

Eleven Sports elevates social engagement

Eleven Sports is seeking to enhance the social element of its sports broadcasting platform, with the arrival of an innovative new feature that enables fans to watch live action together with friends and family in the same online space at the same time.

The new watch together feature, designed by tech start-up Reactoo, has been created to drive engagement and make watching sport a fun and social experience for fans, even when they are in different locations.

Tom Middleditch, Global Head of Digital, Eleven Sports, detailed: “Live sport is special because of the raw emotions that are attached to it. Watch Together enables fans to share these emotions and debate every decision, kick, tackle or punch, wherever they are. This is an exciting first for ELEVEN.

“Watch Together will help to drive engagement in the live event by encouraging active, as opposed to passive viewing habits. Currently fans debate talking points on text or social media while watching a match or fight passively, but our inventive new product will enable in-person interaction while remaining fully immersed in the action.

“Together with our partners Reactoo, we have created an easy-to-use viewing experience. We are delighted to be the first to bring it to the sports market globally, harnessing the versatility of online streaming and fulfilling our commitment to introduce innovative ways for fans to watch, engage in and enjoy live sport.”

DAZN enters Brazilian market with Serie A and Ligue 1

DAZN is seeking to strengthen its global expansion gaining the rights to Serie A TIM and Ligue 1 games in Brazil.

The Brazilian launch is set for March 2019, with CONMEBOL also awarding DAZN the exclusive broadcast rights for all Copa Sudamericana matches from 2019, for four seasons.

Before launching in March 2019, DAZN will broadcast selected Serie A TIM and Ligue 1 matches free-to-air via its pages on Facebook and YouTube, so Brazilian football fans can watch teams including Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus with global superstars Neymar Jr and Cristiano Ronaldo in action. Coverage starts from 7 December.

Simon Denyer, CEO of DAZN Group, commented: “Football is a way of life in Brazil and so launching there with such significant rights is a huge moment for DAZN, cementing us as the fastest growing sports broadcaster in the world. We’ve expanded our footprint to nine countries on four continents in just over two years, and that is only the beginning.”

CONMEBOL President Alejandro Dominguez added: “We are delighted to announce this agreement with DAZN and for Brazilian football fans to be able experience Copa Sudamericana games through a new and exciting platform. DAZN’s fans first approach of offering flexible and affordable access to the world’s biggest sports is a perfect fit for us and we look forward to working with them over the next few seasons.”

IMG nets Premier League deal

IMG has strengthened its relationship with the English Premier League, agreeing a new three-year deal for global inflight and inship media rights.

As part of the partnership, which commences at the start of the 2019/2020 season IMG will retain rights to live coverage on both Sport 24 and Sport 24 Extra, the company’s 24/7 sports channels which are utilised on the likes of Lufthansa, Alitalia, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines and AeroMéxico, as well as the Carnival Cruise Line.

Richard Wise, IMG Media’s Senior Vice President, content and channels, commented: “We remain committed to delivering the very best live sporting action from world-class federations for our airline and cruise ship partners and their passengers. The Premier League matches play an important part in contributing to the 6,000 plus hours of live sport we will broadcast across both Sport 24 channels in 2019.”

Premier League Director of Broadcasting Paul Molnar added: “Many Premier League fans across the world want to follow their club when travelling and IMG, through its Sport 24 channels, does a great job of making the competition available through a range of airlines and shipping companies.”