Uefa, the governing body of European football, and the organisers of the Champions League competition, is reportedly considering a proprietary streaming service to guard against cooling interest in sports rights from traditional broadcasters.

This is according to a report in the Financial Times, in which the body’s general secretary Theodore Theodoridis spoke about the option of providing streams of matches itself if the offers from traditional broadcasters are not sufficient.

He also noted his intention for the body to begin to “experiment” with services in markets that bring in no more than €5m-€10m, with the possibility of a fully online model to any market in which broadcasters are unwilling to dig deep.

It is possible that Uefa could expand its internet channel into an OTT service, which would provide TV-like services bypassing terrestrial formats, which could expand the service to many more viewers across the world but would also represent a radical shift in business model from one that brings in €3.25 billion each year.

Currently, the body is running an auction country-by-country, in which broadcasters pitch for the rights from 2021-24. While markets like the UK (BT Sports) and the US (CBS) are already settled.

“For now, we have lots of [broadcast] partners and are looking forward to continuing our partnerships,” Theoridis told the FT. “We just want to be ready. We just want to have alternative options.”

Some analysts believe the boom in revenues from chasing ever-higher prices for rights to broadcast the sport’s biggest competition. Meanwhile, competition from new players like Amazon reflect a change in the market’s dynamics as traditional pay TV subscribers migrate elsewhere.

Alternative models exist in the form of Major League Baseball’s internet subscription service, which has helped to boost the sport’s revenues to new records. However, MLB faces other problems: increased accessibility is hitting attendance, raising questions about the sport’s sustainability.

Sourced from the FT, WARC, NBC News