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Infront and CEV finalise long-term €106m media-rights and production deal

Image credit: CEV

The Infront agency has finalised a 12-year global media-rights and production agreement understood to be worth €106m ($115.8m) with the Confédération Européenne de Volleyball (CEV), the sport’s governing body in Europe.

The deal, which was first announced at the end of 2019, was ratified by the CEV ‘s 53 member national associations at Saturday’s CEV extraordinary general assembly in Vienna.

Infront will sell rights to CEV’s club and national team competitions from 2020 to 2032 under the terms of the new agreement.

The Wanda-owned agency is the CEV’s incumbent agency for the distribution of media rights to its national team tournaments but takes over from the sports data and content agency Sportradar in commercialising the media rights to the CEV club competitions from 2020-21 onwards.

The €106m total represents an average of €8.8m per year in “guaranteed payments and the provision of comprehensive media, production and digital services by Infront”.

According to details understood to have been presented to attendees at the CEV general assembly, the €106m is broken down as follows:

  • €70m in cash payments
  • €27m in production and digital value-in-kind services provided by Infront
  • €9m ascribed to the Infront volleyball team cost and coverage

There is an equal profit-share system in place after each two-season cycle if pre-defined targets are met.

Events that form part of the agreement include the men’s and women’s flagship national team competitions, such as EuroVolley and the European Beach Volleyball Championship, along with European Volleyball Leagues and Olympic qualification tournaments. The club competitions comprise the CEV Champions League, CEV Cup and CEV Challenge Cup. Rights to the Snow Volleyball European Championship are also included, plus CEV-run continental events in both beach volleyball and snow volleyball.

The CEV said that it remains the owner of the rights as it works with one agency only for the management and marketing of the media rights to all major competitions in volleyball, beach volleyball and snow volleyball.

Boričić said: “This is a milestone agreement for the CEV and the whole European Volleyball family which clearly indicates our strong ambition to further invest into the growth of our sport in Europe. Infront has been a trustful partner of the CEV for the last 27 years and this new agreement will bring us even closer together and I look forward to jointly taking our sport to new heights across all disciplines.”

Philippe Blatter, Infront’s president and chief executive, added: “Infront has been a dedicated and reliable partner of the CEV for more than two decades and in that time both the Volleyball and Beach Volleyball European Championships have seen exponential growth in TV audience.

“This new and unique partnership will allow Infront and CEV to further develop volleyball, beach volleyball and snow volleyball together through innovation, increased audiences and improved production while enjoying access to financial security on a long-term basis.”

In 2007, the CEV originally secured a rights distribution deal with the Sportsman Media Group, the agency subsequently acquired by Sportradar in 2016. In October 2019, Sportradar was appointed by the CEV to sell the media rights for the European qualifying competitions for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Sportradar also supported the launch of the confederation’s EuroVolley.tv OTT streaming platform in 2018.

The existing Infront-CEV deal for the sale of media rights to national team competitions was signed in 2013 and was due to run until 2021.