2020 has been a roller coaster of the year, particularly for sports business! This week sees Rugby, and the BBC take their relationship to another level, Disney continues to disturb the status quo of broadcasting, and Continental Tires supports Asian football to reach new audiences. The third eChampions League is announced, and Formula 1 goes eco-friendly! 

The BBC continue to present the Challenge Cup until 2024

The Rugby Football League’s latter stages remain on free-to-air TV from 2022-2024 through the BBC securing domestic rights of the competition. Two rounds of each round of 16, quarter-finals, both semi-finals and the final will be aired across the public-service broadcaster. 



The men’s Challenger Cup matches are a trademark for BBC Sport; live coverage has been distributed since 1958. However, the new agreement will provide the Women’s Challenge Cup Final with a profile through the broadcasters linear content. 

2021 will be a massive year for Rugby League as three World Cups will be presented in the UK during next October and November. This will increase exposure towards the Women’s and Wheelchair Challenge Cup Competitions. 

Disney set to disturb the sports broadcasting landscape

The global entertainment giants intend to initiate a solo streaming service across South America under their International Star + channel and distributing ESPN’s live sports content. Sports competitions included are the UEFA Champions League, Latin American football tournaments such as Copa Libertadores, Copa Sudamericana and four Grand Slam & ATP tournaments. 

Sports business


Disney’s Star + Brand has already achieved significant success across India along with its Hotstar platform, launching in South America provides endless potential for International growth. 

Over 137m global subscribers have been accumulated by Disney’s streaming services which have created ambitions to produce a Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) business model. The US and Latin American sports fans will be able to subscribe to their platform for $7.50 per month or purchase a Disney+ bundle for $9. 

The Asian Football Confederation skyrockets in sponsorship value

German tire manufacturer, Continental Tyres, have renewed sponsorship agreements with The Asian Football Confederation (AFC), significantly increasing rights value for the AFC. Continental will be a partner for the following AFC competitions: national tournaments between 2021-2024, Asian qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, qualifiers for the 2023 Asian Cup and the tournament itself. 

Continental Tyres
Japan vs Qatar during their AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Final match at Zayed Sports City stadium on 01 February 2019, in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Photo by Stringer / Lagardere Sports


The tyre company’s rights fees are reported to be valued at double compared to the previous cycle, which now equates to $20-22m. 

Continental will support the AFC’s marketing agency, Football Marketing Asia, in celebrating their 150th anniversary through the production of robust digital content campaigns. The tire manufacturer will also utilise virtual signage technology at the Asian Cup to build their relationship with the Chinese market further. 

EA Sports and UEFA collaborate to deliver the eChampions League 

It’s confirmed the two parties will produce a third edition of the eChampions League, a refurbished setup of FIFA 21.

eChampions League sports business


The season will kick off on the 1 February which will see certified PlayStation FUT gamers compete in the international series. The knockout phases will take place May 1 and 2 with the quarter-finals scheduled to unfold on 28 May, a day before the finals. $280,000 is the prize up for grabs alongside the top three gamers earning a position in the FIFA 21 Global Series European Regional PlayStation 4 Playoffs. 

The eChampions League has taken the European competition to a new scale to reach diverse audiences outside of the traditional sporting sector. Streaming service, Twitch, has been an integral driver to opening up opportunities for sport to become virtualised, which will shine through a realm of commercial possibility. 

Formula 1 goes eco-friendly with 100% sustainable fuel

Formula 1’s governing body, the International Automobile Federation (FIA), has produced 100% sustainable fuel available for usage on Grand Prix cars. It’s been created from non-bio waste which is due to be supplied for Formula 1’s engine manufacturers for trial. 

Sustainable fuel for F1

FIA aims to showcase the potential technology has to optimise engine performance which could inspire other fuel suppliers to develop their own oils. Engines powered by sustainable fuels is set to be released by 2026, which will open a new era for promoting sustainability in sport. 

By 2030, Formula 1 has set themselves a go net-zero on their carbon footprint, and carbon neutrality will be targeted for 2021. 

That’s a wrap for the Sports Business Round Up! How will the BBC and Rugby prosper from their recent agreement? Does Disney have the potential to become sports broadcasting leaders? Are we one step further to receiving Asian sport more integrated into mainstream media? Will the eChampions League leverage more attention that the UEFA Champions League itself? Plus, how many other sports properties will follow in Formula 1’s footsteps? 

To read more from our insight series and previous Sports Business Round Ups click here.