Pay-television broadcaster StarTimes has announced a media-rights deal with the Asian Football Confederation to show coverage of its major national and club competitions across sub-Saharan Africa.
The agreement will see StarTimes broadcast the final-round AFC Asian Qualifiers during the rest of this year, as well as the group-stage, knockout and final stages of the 2021 AFC Champions League and 2021 AFC Cup on a non-exclusive basis.
The deal swells the StarTimes portfolio of football rights, which also includes the likes of the Bundesliga, UEFA Europa League, the FA Cup and the UEFA Euro 2020.
It also recently secured a deal to show content from MUTV, the in-house channel of English Premier League football club Manchester United, in over 30 countries across sub-Saharan Africa.
Earlier this year, StarTimes acquired rights in sub-Saharan Africa to content from the Impact Wrestling promotion.
It also broadcast this year’s African Nations Championship national team football tournament, which took place in Cameroon from January 16 to February 7.
However, recent issues have arisen over the broadcaster’s payment schedules with leading rights-holders. This is understood to have included a failure to pay beIN Media Group, the pay-television broadcaster, for Ligue 1 rights and a late payment for LaLiga rights.
Dato’ Windsor John, general secretary at AFC, said: “The agreement will not only increase the exposure of our world-class competitions and platforms beyond the continent, but also enhance the stature of the AFC’s brand as we continue to expand our family of global partners.”
The AFC and its appointed Football Marketing Asia agency have been increasing global coverage for the AFC events. Sports streaming service Fanseat to showing the AFC national and club team tournaments in nine territories across Europe in one of the more recent deals struck.
The Dentsu agency also extended its long-running commercial rights relationship in Japan with the AFC to cover the 2021-24 cycle. The deal is a critical one for the AFC, who up until last week had media rights coverage gaps in Japan and most of the Middle East and North Africa.
AFC is set for a significant increase in the value of its media and sponsorship rights in the cycle when all deals are completed, as reported by SportBusiness. However, the increase will be lower than envisioned when the sales process began in 2018.