Japanese satellite TV network Wowow has retained the rights to broadcast European soccer’s elite UEFA Champions League (UCL) club competition, as well as its second-tier UEFA Europa League (UEL) and third-tier UEFA Conference League (UECL), for the 2024-25 season.

Wowow will serve as the exclusive broadcaster and distributor of the UCL in Japan for the upcoming season, and will also exclusively air select fixtures from the UEL, UECL, and the UCL’s youth category, the UEFA Youth League.

This will include both linear satellite broadcasts and the operator's Wowow On Demand OTT service.

The 2024-25 season will be the first to utilize the new expanded formats of the UCL, UEL, and UECL, with the competitions increasing in size from 32 teams to 36, with each side in the competition playing eight games as opposed to the current six, and the group stage format scrapped and replaced by one single league table before the knockouts.

Several top Japanese soccer stars compete across Europe's top competitions, making the rights an attractive prospect in the country. Such players include Liverpool midfielder (and Japanese national team captain) Wataru Endo, Real Sociedad star Takefusa Kubo, and AS Monaco player Takumi Minamino.

Wowow holds several elite sports rights in Japan, including rugby union’s Super Rugby Pacific competition, golf’s Ladies PGA Tour, basketball’s NBA, tennis’ ATP Tour, and a number of high-profile boxing cards booked by the likes of promoter Top Rank.

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The broadcaster had also been a long-standing rights-holders of Spanish soccer’s top-tier LaLiga competition, however, it ended its 20-year relationship with the league in May 2023.

Wowow announcing the UCL rights renewal with European soccer governing body UEFA is the latest in a string of rights deals for the elite tier Champions League, most recently in Poland where the rights to the UCL, UEFA Youth League, and the annual pre-season UEFA Super Cup were secured by multinational pay-TV broadcaster Canal Plus.