Who Will Win the Streaming Rights to the Proposed ‘Super League’ in World Soccer?
The global soccer world was set ablaze over the weekend due to a proposed “Super League” devised of some of the top clubs from around the world. 12 teams from England’s Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, and Italy’s Serie A are allegedly combining forces to form a league of the world’s elite soccer clubs, despite fervent opposition from other leagues, media partners, supporters groups, and pretty much everyone who isn’t an owner of one of these 12 teams. Here’s a little bit of background about the Super League and who might take the risk and agree to broadcast this new league.
What is the Super League?
For the uninitiated, the “Super League” is a proposed league of 12 teams consisting of:
- Premier League: Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool
- Serie A: Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan
- La Liga: Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid
These founding members hope to have at least three more clubs join them before starting play. These teams would leave their former leagues and join this new venture, which would be governed by the founding clubs themselves. The new league would remove relegation, the practice of “demoting” underperforming clubs in favor of highly-performing clubs from lower leagues, but would be open to adding up to five clubs per season. American financial services company J.P. Morgan is providing the financial backing, according to CNN.
This announcement prompted many in the soccer community to be absolutely furious, including governing bodies like FIFA and UEFA, media rights partners, supporters of the 12 clubs, soccer fans in large, and even England's prime minister Boris Johnson, citing the club owners’ excessive greed and selfishness in trying to “get richer” while leaving the rest of the world in the dust. FIFA has even gone so far to propose bans for players affiliated with the new Super League venture, denying them the right to play for their country in global events like the World Cup.
Who Would Risk Getting Streaming Rights for the Super League?
A potential streaming partner would be taking a huge risk in affiliating with the Super League, especially as we see the way other soccer entities have responded to the news. Starting an agreement with Super League would likely cause a rift the relationship that company had with UEFA or FIFA, if any.
While ViacomCBS and their streaming service Paramount+ have made soccer a focal point of their coverage, they likely wouldn’t jeopardize their growing list of rights, including Serie A, for Super League. Peacock and their Premier League rights are likely in the same boat. Hulu is affiliated with ESPN+, which currently has a variety of soccer rights, including the MLS, which would likely stand in solidarity with their global brethren and denounce the Super League. FOX is in the same boat, with rights to the MLS as well as rights to both the men’s and women’s World Cup. DAZN has already denied their involvement with the league, which makes sense considering their recent acquisition of Serie A’s domestic rights. But this could serve as an opportunity for DAZN to cement itself as a streaming titan, especially in the U.S.
That leaves probably the most interesting of all — Amazon. Could Amazon Prime Video be the streaming home for the Super League? It currently has limited global Premier League rights but eyed Serie A rights prior to Paramount+ winning the race at the last minute. Amazon Prime Video also picked up NFL streaming rights and would no doubt love to parlay that win into another with the Super League. Plus, the potential Legion of Doom memes that would come from this partnership with Jeff Bezos as Lex Luthor would be incredible.
As a Manchester United supporter, I can’t support the Super League. To potentially diminish the Premier League, Champions League, and World Cup in the name of corporate greed is something that I can’t stand behind. I hope cooler heads prevail and the Super League teams come to terms with their current leagues and allow us to watch the sport we love as we’ve enjoyed it for decades.
That being said, I’m a realist, and understand that money makes the world go around, and that there’s a huge opportunity for these clubs and a lucky streaming service to capitalize big with the Super League rights. Of course, the Super League owners could just continue their proverbial middle finger to the world and start their own streaming service, too, rendering this whole argument worthless.