Univision Wins UEFA U.S. Spanish Media Rights in $225M Deal

TelevisaUnivision has won the Spanish-language rights to broadcast UEFA club competitions in the U.S., a three-year deal worth $225 million, according to multiple people familiar with the details.

The agreement, brokered by Stephen Ross’ Relevent Sports Group, comes on the heels of the six-year, $1.5 billion deal that UEFA signed last year with Paramount for the English-language rights to the competitions, which include the prestigious Champions League. When combined, UEFA will be paid $325 million per year for its U.S. rights from 2024-2027, more than double UEFA’s current contracts ($143 million) and among the largest soccer media packages in the U.S.

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While Paramount’s English-language deal covers six years—the first time UEFA has done a deal of that length in the U.S.—Relevent took a deliberately different approach with the Spanish-language rights. “We believe that doing a three-year deal with the current holder of the Spanish-language rights was the right way to maximize the value,” Boris Gartner, partner at Relevent Sports and CEO of LaLiga North America, said in a video call.

Gartner, who is co-host of Sportico’s La Previa Spanish-language sports business podcast, said large audiences viewed World Cup matches streamed in Spanish on Peacock during the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. “In the medium and long term, we see that the consumption of sports, specifically soccer, is driven by Hispanics,” he said.

With the Spanish-language media undergoing rapid changes, the company decided that hitting the market again in three years would maximize the value of UEFA’s rights.

“And as we look at what the future of media companies and streaming services will be, there’s definitely an opportunity for the non-core Hispanic players to start investing in Spanish language rights,” Gartner said.

UEFA’s Champions League is one of the most valuable sports properties in the world. According to CBS, last year’s final averaged 2.76 million viewers, the largest audience to view the final in the U.S.

The final is also one of the most coveted live sporting events. UEFA rotates the venue every year across the member countries. The venues have been selected through the 2024-25 season, but during a recent interview with The Athletic, UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin said it is “possible” that Champions League matches could be staged in the United States after 2025.

Founded in 2012, Relevent positions itself as a partner for clubs, leagues and federations that want to grow their commercial footprint in the U.S. The company works with clients on their media rights negotiations, but its approach is different than agencies that take a commission on deals they negotiate.

Relevent has partnered with UEFA and the European Club Association (ECA) to organize friendlies and tours by European clubs in the U.S. It also has a 15-year deal with LaLiga to represent the league across all its operations in North America, and the two formed a 50-50 joint venture called LaLiga North America to handle those duties.

With UEFA, Relevent backstopped the deal, offering a guarantee and a chance to share in the upside. For the 2024-27 cycle, Relevent guaranteed UEFA at least $250 million, according to someone familiar with the details. That's about $100 million more than what UEFA club competitions earned in the current cycle, and about $75 million less than the ultimate value of the combined deals with TelevisaUnivision and Paramount.

The financial risk, CEO Daniel Sillman said in a video call, allows Relevent to be more hands-on across several different opportunities. “If you want to drive value, you have to take a more wholesome look at how you actually grow value, and not just being a broker to those rights,” he said. “And in order for the league to view you as a partner and not just an agency broker, you've got to put a real investment on the table.”

Both Sillman and Gartner declined to comment on the financial specifics of the deal.

In addition to its media rights business, Relevent also owns and operates soccer properties, including the Women's International Champions Cup, and has multiyear partnerships with the Premier League and LaLiga to develop preseason tours across North America.

"We were the first catalyst to growing soccer events in this region over a decade ago, and we've done a lot to develop this market," Sillman said. "If we want to build a media rights business, we still have to be focused on developing an audience and building demand. And to do that, we can do it through our events and partnerships with leagues and governing bodies."

(This story has updated the headline.)

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