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AFC terminates rights deal with Eleven

DAZN restructuring regional business after shuttering streaming platform.

12 January 2023 Josh Sim

Getty Images

  • Eleven gives up deals in East and Southeast Asian territories
  • AFC returns to market with rights to 2023 Asian Cup and next two years of club competitions

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has announced it will cut short its media rights deal with broadcaster Eleven, following a restructuring of the DAZN-owned sports media company’s operations in Asia.

Eleven had served as the AFC’s main broadcasting partner in several territories across Southeast and East Asia, including Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. Its deal with the AFC was expanded last year to include live rights to all AFC competitions until 2024 in most of its Southeast Asian territories.

Now, following Eleven’s takeover by DAZN, the AFC and Eleven have now agreed to end the partnership early, with both parties agreeing that an alternative broadcast platform would ‘best serve football fans in the region’.

The AFC said that Football Marketing Asia (FMA), its exclusive commercial partner for the 2021 to 2024 and 2025 to 2028 broadcast cycles, will now go back to market with the media rights in the territories Eleven had previously showed games in.

Back on the table are the regional contracts for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, due to be played in Qatar, and the next two seasons of the AFC’s club competitions, including the AFC Champions League.

The terminated deal’s announcement comes after Eleven confirmed it would close its Asian streaming platform last month due to ‘economic factors’, with customers to be offered a refund for the final month of their subscription.

SportsPro says…

It appears as though DAZN is resetting Eleven’s business in non-core territories. While giving up regional soccer rights may cost them subscribers, DAZN believes it is worth it after its latest accounts revealed losses grew to US$1.35 billion due to increased rights costs.

Looking ahead, DAZN has a global platform that can absorb the content for which Eleven still has regional rights while it continues to formulate the strategy for how to effectively absorb the sports media company it acquired last year.

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