UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, is gearing up to launch a process for global commercial rights covering its UEFA Women’s Champions League (UWCL) top-tier competition, with the next cycle to run from 2025-26 to 2029-30.
The body kicked off an expressions of interest phase covering sponsorship and media rights on Thursday (January 18) and will launch a request for proposals (RFP) on January 25.
Sponsorship rights covering UEFA’s women’s national team competitions across the same five-year period will also be sent to market.
The range of sponsorship rights on offer includes the UWCL from 2025 to 2030, as well as editions of the UEFA Women’s European Championships, the UEFA Women’s Futsal Championship, as well as various age-group tournaments.
UEFA’s women’s national team competitions currently have their media rights sold by the CAA Eleven agency, while Two Circles handles sponsorship rights to all UEFA women's competitions.
Global streaming heavyweight DAZN currently holds worldwide broadcast rights to the UWCL.
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UEFA has said: "Since 2017, UEFA Women’s soccer has undergone incredible growth, reaching new audiences and raising standards higher than ever before, and has also seen an impressive uplift in terms of the revenues obtained from the media and sponsorship rights, as well as attracting a wide array of internationally recognized, premium brands. Building on this success, UEFA is now inviting expressions of interest from prospective bidders in relation to the 2025/30 commercial cycle.”
The RFP processes will have a bid deadline of February 29, and interested parties should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The governing body has said that it wants to “receive proposals from a wide variety of interested parties with the opportunity to associate themselves with the relevant competition(s) and to submit proposals for the rights available (including, by way of example only, broadcasters, commercial rights agencies, and broadcasting unions).”
Any proposals around the sponsorship rights must be for all of the available packages as opposed to just single sets of rights.
In December, it was unveiled that UEFA will expand the UWCL and add a second-tier tournament for the 2025-26 season.
In its current format, the UWCL features a 16-team group stage, for which only four teams qualify directly by winning their respective domestic leagues.
The remaining teams compete via a playoff system to qualify for the group stage, which regularly sees early exits for some of the biggest sides, as seen by England’s Arsenal and Germany’s Wolfsburg this season.
However, under sweeping changes approved by UEFA’s executive committee at the governing body’s meeting in Hamburg Germany on the weekend (December 2), the competition will expand to 18 teams and change to a league format, with clubs playing three home and away matches each before moving onto a knockout phase.
Spain’s Barcelona are the current UWCL champions after they beat Wolfsburg during last season’s final.
Earlier this week, DAZN confirmed it would move the majority of its women’s soccer content worldwide – including the UWCL – onto a free-to-view platform.
The service – which operates across a wide swathe of the globe primarily as a subscription offer – announced it had lifted the paywall in place for the women’s soccer it covers in a wide range of markets until the end of the current campaign.
DAZN has held global UWCL rights since 2021 and already announced plans to keep its group-stage coverage of the UWCL free in November last year.