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Euros delay hits broadcaster schedules

European Football Championship has been postponed until 2021

International broadcasters are facing a blow to their summer schedules following the postponement of the European Football Championship amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

UEFA announced yesterday it was postponing the tournament, due to take place across 14 European nations this summer, until 2021.

UK commercial broadcaster ITV was set to broadcast the tournament, along with the BBC, and has now seen a large chunk of its summer programming schedule severely affected.

ITV said the direct impact will be to reduce its schedule costs in 2020 by £40m (US$48m) to £50m, including the cost of replacement programming.

In a statement, ITV said: “There will be no loss of sponsorship revenue as the tournament is pre-sponsored. We look forward to broadcasting the Euros and providing a significant marketing opportunity for advertisers in 2021, a year which does not have any other large sports tournament.

“ITV continues to closely monitor the implications of the coronavirus and will update the market further as appropriate. Our priority remains to protect our people. Currently, ITV’s guidance for March and April advertising revenue has not changed. As we stated at the full-year results, ITV has good access to liquidity. We have £830m of undrawn facilities and no bond repayments until September 2022.”

In the UK, the BBC and ITV paid over US$200m for broadcast rights to the tournament, while ZDF and ARD in Germany channelled over US$160m to air the games.

TF1, M6 and BeIN Sports held the rights in France while Mediaset airs the tournament in Spain.

It’s another blow to broadcasters already facing delays in original productions which are going on hiatus, but another potential opportunity for distributors of finished tape who can help fill schedule gaps.

Sports consultancy Sportcal predicted that the tournament’s postponement will have a more drastic impact on the broadcasters, as many are concerned about the possible loss of advertising revenue.

Conrad Wiacek, head of analysis and consulting at Sportcal, commented: “Many broadcasters will have committed funds for sports rights and the creation of schedules around the tournament, so the impact of this decision will be profoundly felt.

“For commercial broadcasters who use major international sporting events as a means of driving advertising revenue, they will be hoping that those advertising budgets are simply rolled over into next year as opposed to brands looking to claw back that marketing spend.

“With many brands facing an uncertain time over the next 12 months due to the wider economic impact of Covid-19, it remains to be seen whether that planned advertising spend will need to be deployed elsewhere in the meantime, leading to a severe economic impact for many broadcasters.”

According to data and media analysis firm GlobalData, an estimated US$148m in sponsorship was committed to the tournament, with companies such as Heineken and Coca-Cola investing US$45m and US$35m respectively.

It is expected that Europe’s football governing body, UEFA, will roll over the sponsorship deals to next summer, as the tournament has been rescheduled to be played between June 11 and July 11, 2021.


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