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Eleven Sports CEO: It’s time to modernise the sports rights model

Luis Vicente said current model should be "repositioned and modernised"

Luis Vicente, the CEO of Eleven Sports, has said the coronavirus pandemic should spur the sports industry to modernise the way broadcast rights are sold, arguing the current system puts too much risk on broadcasters and advertisers.

Speaking as part of the SportsPro Media Insider series, Vicente said the current cancellation or postponement of almost all sporting events should lead to rights holders rethinking how revenues generated from the sale and distribution of content are shared.

“We have been talking for many years about revenue,” Vicente said. “Everyone gets blind by the revenues that the industry generates, but what about profitability and the cash flow generated by football as an industry? It’s actually negative.”

“Everybody looks to the top 20 clubs or top five leagues, but what about the other 99 per cent of the ecosystem?” asked Vicente. “What I think Covid-19 and this crisis has brought is, for the first time, a reality check.”

He added that the current model should be “repositioned and modernised” and described the current situation as a “game changer.”

“When you look at a lot of the sports rights holders they have zero or very limited risk, and the risk is taken on by the broadcasters, commercial sponsors, and even the fan buying a season ticket. We need to understand the need to move into a much more risk-share proposition, which will of course take time, especially [with] what we’re seeing during the moment of crisis and all the discussions we’re seeing between leagues and governments.”