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Team back in the market with Champions League tenders in Italy, sub-Saharan Africa

Jose Maria Callejon (Napoli) and Sadio Mane (Liverpool) during 2019-20 UEFA Champions League (Photo by Matteo Ciambelli/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Team Marketing agency has initiated its first Uefa club competitions media-rights sales processes in nearly seven months, inviting bids from broadcasters in Italy and also sub-Saharan Africa for the new 2021-24 cycle.

Having last issued invitations to submit offers (ISO) in February as it kicked off the rights auction in the Nordics, Team and Uefa have gone to market in various territories in recent weeks.

The sales process in the Nordics continued despite the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and its marked effect on broadcasters’ budgets, but there has since been a hiatus as the market conditions were assessed.

Concurrent sales processes in Italy for the Uefa Champions League (and Uefa Super Cup) and the Europa League (along with the new third-tier Europa Conference League) were launched on September 14. Italian broadcasters must lodge their first-round offers by 10am (CET) on October 12.

During the 2017 auction, pay-television broadcaster Sky Italia was awarded the exclusive Champions League and Europa League rights from 2018-19 to 2020-21, paying just over €300m ($351.5m) per season.

Sky subsequently agreed a two-year Champions League sublicensing deal with Mediaset covering the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons with the commercial and pay-television group securing rights to show one match per week on its flagship Canale 5 channel. Sky had agreed a free-to-air sublicensing deal with public broadcaster Rai during the 2018-19 season.

Meanwhile, broadcasters in sub-Sahara Africa were asked to lodge their first-round offers today (Wednesday) after the launch of the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League sales processes on September 7.

An individual sales process was also issued in South Africa while the rights in Nigeria have been carved out. The same September 23 deadline date was set in both countries.

Pay-television broadcaster SuperSport holds the English- and Portuguese-language Champions League rights in sub-Saharan Africa (including South Africa) during the 2018-21 cycle.

Pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus Afrique holds the French-language rights across the region (excluding South Africa) to the Champions League and Europa League, with rival StarTimes the incumbent English-language rights-holder to the Europa League (excluding South Africa, where SuperSport holds the rights).

At the start of the week, Team also initiated the Uefa club competitions sales processes in Iceland, issuing a bid deadline of October 19. Pay-television broadcaster Stöð 2 Sport is the incumbent Champions League and Europa League rights-holder.