Sports Flick’s Champions League bid is a big step for OTT platforms in sports domain

Sports Flick’s reported bid for Champions League could be a game changer for non-traditional streaming platforms.

Last week, Sydney Morning Herald announced that Sports Flick, a Sydney-based start-up, has won the rights to broadcast UEFA Champions League in Australia for the three seasons from 2021-22 to 2023-24. This reportedly AUS$60 million deal has not been confirmed yet by either Sports Flick or UEFA. However, this report does suggest a landmark deal.

In all fairness, streaming platforms winning the rights to broadcast top-tier sports leagues and competitions has become a common sight in last few years. Various top European leagues and national sporting boards have given preference to OTT platforms over traditional television networks.

In February, Amazon Prime struck a deal with La Liga to stream the league in the UK via its platform. DAZN is currently leading the race to become Serie A’s domestic broadcaster. Cricket West Indies has a deal with ESPN’s OTT service, ESPN+ for the US market. However, Sports Flick’s entry into the sports market is different.

Almost all the major streaming platforms in the world of sports are either well-established services or are connected to a traditional television network. Meanwhile, Sports Flick was established in 2019 and streams unconventional sports and football leagues with niche local followings.

Founded by Dylan Azzopardi, the company has managed to build up a mixed sports portfolio in  two years that includes the Australian Baseball League, European handball, European Cricket League, and some mixed martial arts competitions. The platform also offers pay-per-view videos of the Serbian rugby league, few Test cricket matches, and competitive bodybuilding. The subscription rate here is $14.99 per month/ $99.99 for a year.

Sports Flick’s wants to become future home of football in Australia

Interestingly, the start-up has also built a nice portfolio of football content. Currently, they own media rights to UEFA Women’s Champions League, Arabian Gulf League, Liga Primera de Nicaragua, South Korea’s top-flight K-League, and recently acquired Austrian Football Bundesliga. It should be noted that that Sports Flick took the rights of K-League earlier this year from Optus Sport, which is also UEFA Champions League’s current broadcaster in Australia.

This sudden influx of football broadcast deals for Sports Flick seems to be a part of Azzopardi’s vision to move to top-tier sports. In February, he also posted on Twitter that Sports Flick is becoming the home of football and teased that a few more football leagues are set to appear on the service.

If the Champions League deal goes through, Sports Flick will become a major player in the Australian sports broadcast market. With football’s most-watched league in its portfolio, the company will be able to compete with the big conglomerates in the race. This may also inspire entrepreneurs to enter the sports broadcast world to start a new chapter in the era of streaming platform dominance in the sporting world.

On the flip side, this deal may burn a hole in the pockets of Australian football fans because Optus still has the English Premier League and Fox Sports and Kayo show the A-League along with other European leagues. If Sports Flick manages to become the ‘Home of Football in the next few years, it may end up benefitting the fans too as they won’t have to subscribe to different services to watch their favourite leagues.

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