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ViacomCBS' Paramount+ Makes a Huge Soccer Deal

The company has snatched exclusive rights to stream the lucrative English Premier League soccer on its Paramount+ service in Mexico and several other countries.
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ViacomCBS  (VIACA) - Get ViacomCBS Inc. Class A Report is determined to be the powerhouse in soccer. The company has scooped the exclusive rights to stream English Premier League soccer in several Latin American countries, a huge win as media companies battle it out for the streaming of live sporting events that attract large audiences.

The three-year deal is Paramaount+/ViacomCBS' first live sports offering for Latin America, according to Reuters.

The deal secures exclusive English Premier League streaming rights for Paramount+ in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama, and non-exclusively in Belize and the Dominican Republic, according to the company.

Subscribers in these countries will be able to watch 380 live matches starting with the 2022-23 season.

The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Why It Matters

The Premier League is one of the most popular in the world, attracting fans on multiple continents.

ViacomCBS is betting on live sports as part of its growth strategy for Paramount+, which launched in 25 markets last year.

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Among its other soccer deals, in Australia ViacomCBS secured broadcast and streaming rights to A-League Men, A-League Women, and other soccer matches. In November, it struck a multi-year deal to air matches from Barclays FA Women’s Super League (BFAWSL), one of Europe’s top women’s soccer leagues, on Paramount+ and the CBS Sports Network in the United States.

In November, the Premier League agreed to a six-year U.S. broadcast rights agreement with NBC Sports, owned by Comcast Corp  (CMCSA) - Get Comcast Corporation Class A Report The Athletic reported that the deal was worth more than $2.7 billion, well over double the previous deal.

Those matches will be broadcast across NBC, USA Network, Telemundo, the company’s Peacock streaming service, and other platforms.

Buying rights to soccer leagues outside their home markets have been a popular option for streaming services. That's because a number of leagues including top-tier leagues in Europe and South America have devoted global followings. A fan of France's Ligue 1 or Italy's Series A will likely find those games -- and pay any reasonable price for them -- in whatever country they happen to be living in.

These deals have gotten pricier as more streaming players enter the space to bid up prices, but the dollars fall well below the numbers the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Football League (NFL) can command in markets that have an audience for American football and basketball.

The changing nature of the cable and streaming world has also driven up the price (and value) of these deals.

"When the Premier League signed a six-year rights extension with NBC Sports in September 2015, the media world was different," wrote World Soccer Talk's Christopher Harris. "At that time, over-the-top streaming services were largely limited to on-demand taped programming. Meanwhile, linear TV networks offered streaming services such as ESPN3 and NBCSports.com. They were complementary to cable and satellite subscriptions, requiring authentication."

Now, the vast majority of streaming platforms offer some amount of live-streaming content (although Netflix (NFLX) - Get Netflix, Inc. Report has chosen not to).