The Women’s Champions League will be streamed live and free around the world from next season after DAZN was selected as host broadcaster by UEFA.
The four-year deal will see all 61 matches from the group stage in the next two seasons broadcast free to air on streaming giant DAZN’s YouTube channel, as well as on DAZN’s regular subscription service.
For the second half of the deal, 19 games including the final will continue to be available free to air via DAZN’s YouTube channel, with teams being rotated so that different countries are represented.
DAZN’s vice-president rights acquisition Laura Louisy told the PA news agency that all the parties involved were hoping to create a “virtuous circle”, which would ultimately help extend women’s football’s global reach, summed up by the title of its new campaign film ‘We All Rise With More Eyes’.
The deal, described by DAZN as one of the biggest in the history of women’s football, is the first to be struck by UEFA since it announced the centralisation of Women’s Champions League rights in September last year.
Louisy said: “We have a plan to elevate the Women’s Champions League to new heights. We very much see this as a snowball effect, and it begins with DAZN as the catalyst.
“We’ll be making more live matches available, producing more content and creating more original programming to bring fans closer to the game.
“And then what that leads to is more eyes, bigger audiences, more engagement, and ultimately more fans, which in turn delivers more tickets, more sponsors and more advertisers, so we see this as a virtuous circle.”
Next season marks the start of a new format for the competition as it moves to a 16-team group stage, with the top two from each group moving to an eight-team knockout phase.
The deal grants DAZN exclusive global rights to the competition, except in China and its territories and the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region.
Louisy stressed the importance in DAZN’s strategy – and to UEFA – of creating a one-stop shop for the competition.
“We interviewed (Manchester City and England star) Lucy Bronze and she said that even her mum hasn’t been able to follow all of her matches through the season,” Louisy said.
“We want to make it as easy for fans as possible to follow the games, and that means creating one single home. And in addition to that, in order to really maximise visibility, we have chosen to work with YouTube, they’ve a potential reach of two billion people each day, they have access to significant communities around women’s football, so not only can we engage existing fans but also we can reach new fans.”
UEFA’s chief of women’s football Nadine Kessler said: “Such visibility changes everything, as the best female players and best women’s teams in the world can inspire more young girls and boys to fall in love with this sport.
“Together we are all bringing women’s football to the world and everyone who will tune in will truly make a difference to something bigger.”