UEFA, Portugal FF, LaLiga & Manchester United to discuss OTT at Soccerex Europe!

Guy-Laurent Epstein, Marketing Director, UEFA; Nuno Santos, Channel Director, Portuguese Football Federation (FPF); Phil Lynch, CEO – Media, Manchester United; and a Senior Representative from LaLiga will form the “Rights Holders as Media Owners” panel at Soccerex Europe on September 5-6 in Oeiras. The event is hosted in partnership with the Municipality of Oeiras and the FPF, and with the support of Liga Portugal, LaLiga and Totum Sport.

Football’s rights holders and broadcasters have long been reliant on each other; broadcasters rely on rights holders for the content that brings them viewers and advertisers; rights holders rely on broadcasters to generate revenues through rights sales and to help them expand their global reach. This relationship may be about to change. Rights holders are now seizing the opportunity presented to them by direct-to-consumer technologies to create and develop their own OTT offerings, allowing them to control what fans can watch and how they can watch it. At Soccerex Europe, our panel of senior experts will provide the club, league, federation, and confederation perspective on the challenges and opportunities faced in developing an OTT offering and how they see the sports rights market changing as a result.

In June 2019, UEFA launched their new OTT streaming platform – UEFA.tv – which provides fans with coverage of women’s and youth football, as well archive content and behind-the-scenes footage from matches. UEFA Marketing Director, Guy-Laurent Epstein was extremely vocal in the inception of the platform, focusing on increasing the visibility of lesser-covered areas of football, and the leagues in the federation; the first league that took this opportunity was the German Bundesliga, who created their own channel on the platform, and produce highlights videos and behind-the-scenes content. In 2002, Guy-Laurent joined UEFA as TV & Sponsorship Manager and soon became Head of Marketing Activities. In 2005, he created the Media Rights unit which is responsible for the overall sales of broadcast rights for UEFA competitions. Thereafter in 2010, he was appointed Marketing Director, responsible for the ongoing development of all marketing and commercial activities, including branding, media and sponsorship across all UEFA competitions.

The FPF are set to launch “11”, a new OTT channel which will include coverage of the Portuguese youth team, women’s team, beach soccer team and futsal side, with Nuno Santos heading the project as Channel Director, for what will be the first free-to-air football channel and content platform owned by a football association. Nuno has been immersed in the world of media since an early age, beginning in radio where he was a producer and presenter at Rádio Comercial, before moving into television. He was part of the team that founded SIC, the first private TV channel in Portugal, and SIC Notícias (SIC News), the country’s first 100% news-dedicated cable channel.Throughout his career, Nuno Santos has kept in permanent touch with several of the key players involved in television and the press.

In 2014, Manchester United launched their subscription-based OTT service, MUTV, which gives fans access to on-demand content and live streams. Phil Lynch, formerly of Yahoo and Sony Pictures, was brought in to manage this service, among other responsibilities as Chief Executive Officer of Media. Lynch is responsible for overseeing the club’s media initiatives, including the management and operations of MUTV, the creation and editorial oversight of United Review (official match day programme) and Inside United (official monthly magazine), as well as the club’s digital media partnerships and direct-to-consumer products.

LaLiga became the first major European league to launch its own OTT streaming service in March 2019, with LaLigaSportsTV. The streaming platform shows not only football in Spain but provides coverage of a number of less high-profile sports across the country, such as basketball, handball, esports and many more. The platform gives fans easy access to content from their favourite sports. At Soccerex Europe, a senior representative from LaLiga will join the panel to share their expertise and knowledge into LaLigaSportsTV, how the platform has hit the ground running, and the plans for the future of the service.

Complete with top industry experts, this panel will form part of the world-class conference agenda at Soccerex Europe, in the latest edition of the company’s event portfolio. The conference will focus on the future of football across the continent and we will see international experts address various topics, such as technology and innovation, the involvement of the modern football fan, the management of club revenues, television broadcasting and new media. Over two days, more than 1500 participants will have a great variety of structured and informal opportunities to establish contact with delegates from all over the world.

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