Telia, Swedish telecommunications giant and owner of several media platforms just bought the UEFA Champions League television & streaming rights for three years starting from 2021.
You know how much Telia paid? SEK 1 billion per year – that’s just shy of 92 million euros!
That’s for Sweden only. The previous rights’holder, NENT Group, reportedly paid less for the whole Scandinavian region I.e. Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
92 million euros / year to show some soccer in the country that doesn’t have much representation in the tournament and certainly stands no chance of ever winning it!
Why is this news on cross country skiing resource?
First, to make a comparison: we don’t think SVT, Swedish public broadcaster and Telia’s top rival for audiences’ eyeballs pays more than 5% of that princely one billion Swedish kronas for cross country skiing rights to FIS via Infront ( we don’t have exact figures – unlike top sports, xcskiing financials are not a public knowledge)
Second, to stress the point we always make: the world has changed irrevocably – it became smaller and its values changed. Sport is entertainment first, second & last. It is clearer with each year: the audiences are willing to pay to watch amazing athletes from exotic countries to do tricks with a ball rather than root for home-grown talents winning at world’s stage. And why is that?
Because the international football is a carefully built machine where goal scoring is but a culmination of one’s ” personality cult” otherwise know as influencing. It doesn’t matter where he comes from. It’s all being done by an army of world’s best spin doctors and advisors but the key thing is athlete’s being a keen participant. To put it bluntly, being a homey helps, but it’s more important what and how you put on TikTok and Instagram.
…Some already call Telia’s billion kronas bet a madness – especially in the times of COVID uncertainty. The matter is, however, with the Champions League it’s possible to calculate a return on your investment. One star fades – they shall bring another one to replace it. With marginal sports – like crosscountry skiing – it’s increasingly difficult. And too risky for investors.