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LUFC Chairman explains Premier League staying with NBC Sports for U.S. broadcasts

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Andrea Radrizzani, Aser Ventures Founder and Chairman of Leeds United joined Yahoo Finance to discuss Aser Ventures' company LIVENow as well as the latest with the Premier League.

Video Transcript


- We just saw some news that the Premier League has agreed to a six year rights deal in the US with NBC Sports. Let's talk about what this means for the league, what it means for the growth of the sport going forward. And we have Andrea Radrizzani the founder and chairman of Aser Ventures, also majority owner of Leeds United.

Andrea, it's great to have you. We're just getting this news here at the top of the hour. You're obviously a huge player in this industry as a majority owner of Leeds United. Talk about just what this means for the sport going forward and growing the popularity of soccer here in the US.

ANDREA RADRIZZANI: A good afternoon. Thank you for having me here. I think it's a great time to be here because we have just put down the phone with the board meeting of the Premier League to confirm this a great deal with renewing the rights agreement with NBC and Comcast group. So it's great deal, great opportunity to continue our expansion as a league in the US.

It's a market that is growing in terms of popularity. Soccer is growing every week. And I think our partners have been happy and there's the confirmation that we are working very well. I think soccer, with the World Cup coming up in 2006 presents a big opportunity. I see more and more kids everywhere in the country playing soccer in the weekend and soccer camp.

But it's not a surprise to me, to be honest. I was expecting a standoff and that's what happened. So I'm glad the league is still very appealing.

- Andrea, we want to talk more about this issue and especially that TV show, "Ted Lasso," if it's having an impact on soccer's popularity in the States. But first, let's talk about Live now. Because the platform, in its pay per view and subscription model to bring in live entertainment, can also bring in sports. So it's all kind of related. But what is it you want people to know about Live Now? I think the last metric I saw 500,000 people and growing. What's drawing them to it?

ANDREA RADRIZZANI: Yeah it's still a baby company in our initial ventures. We launched this business just before COVID. During this pandemic we had an acceleration of our plan, but at the same time also was a great testing phase. We deliver 320 live events across music, sports, entertainment, including comedy and theater.

And obviously during COVID we had to invest massively to build the show that didn't exist without concert with public, and nowadays we are switching back to the normal way to maximize the revenue for existing events. They also add rights in order to unbundle the offer and reach a bigger audience.

In one year we have a sign off of over 130 partnerships globally, including Telecom Publisher and social media account to reach every single user and particularly the new generation, Gen Z, millennial, in a new way without subscription and in a very flexible approach to premium content.

- Andre, going back to this huge deal, because it was closely watched by a lot of people within the industry. MBC was battling ESPN for the rights of the Premier League. Is there an advantage in your view of going with NBC over ESPN?

ANDREA RADRIZZANI: NBC works very well. I think it's been a good partner increasing in the viewership and visibility of Premier League. And I think they have offered a very good amount to beat the competitors, that they were very aggressive, and I think they deserve to continue the partnership with the League and continue to grow the popularity of the sport across the different platform, the Comcast group in the US.

- When you see a company throw around $2 billion, how does a LIVENow compete? Should that company say you know what? That's an area we want to go into as well because they have huge money behind them.

ANDREA RADRIZZANI: Look, we are going there gradually. I mean, all my background is sportswriter. We have already activated some partnership this year with Euro to 2021-- 2020 that was actually playing '21. We did Copa American soccer, we did several Cricket events, and US open in selected markets where we operate with them now the single pay per view approach to a very single event.

And we also work in the same way operating as a partner and distribution partner for rights sold there. We did this with Comcast in Italy with some boxing events. We did with Discovery for tennis. And this platform basically is also supported to create new opportunity to find your customers outside of the traditional channels used by the right soldier. At the same time also we invest in some cases in our own asset, in our lives particularly in music, I would say at the moment.

- Andrea, when it comes to Leeds United, the 49ers I know recently increasing their ownership, their stake in the club, I'm sure this gives you an opportunity to learn a thing or two from the 49ers. They have an extremely strong brand and extremely loyal following. How has this helped you build your club into a stronger organization?

ANDREA RADRIZZANI: Well, it's a good question. We have built a fantastic relationship with the 49ers based on, first of all, on trust and friendship, but also we are coming from different backgrounds. I think my organization, my background, is more media and content. Their organization is more focused on venue management and commercial exploitation of the sports Portico NFL.

So I think this combination is a great opportunity to team up and Leeds United to go over the time. We are still in our second year in the Premier League, but the club have grown significantly. I acquired a club with 36 million pounds revenue and now we at 200 million revenue. So the goal is important, but we still have room for additional growth in the next few years.