The European Super League took a major step toward actualization on Thursday. The European Court of Justice ruled UEFA acted out of its boundaries in punishing clubs for competing in different leagues or tournaments. Consequently, the discussions about the future of the European Super League continued to ramp up.

Granted, there is no concrete future for the European competition. Droves of clubs said they still align with UEFA and that their plans have not changed. Clubs like Manchester United, Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich said the Super League is an attack on domestic soccer.

Regardless, A22, the sports management firm overseeing the European Super League, is planning a free streaming service. That would allow anyone who wants to watch the competition to enjoy it at no charge. This would be a massive gamble given the finances involved in the European Super League. For example, A22 says teams would receive $422 million for the first three years of competition. Even if the only two teams to not denounce the Super League are Barcelona and Real Madrid, that is almost $1 billion in allocation money.

Moreover, TV and streaming deals bring in the lion’s share of money for sports leagues. The UEFA Champions League rights went to CBS in a six-year deal. CBS paid $1.5 billion, or $250 million per year, for the rights in the United States. The European Super League would not have that money coming in.

How can European Super League make money with free streaming?

Barcelona has been pulling levers and walking on eggshells to avoid bankruptcy over the last several years. While the club would be making money, there are limited explanations as to where that revenue could come in.

A22 suggested advertising as a means to pull in money. Other leagues also benefit from advertising. Heineken is a name-brand sponsor of the Champions League, as is snack brand Lays. The Super League could have similar sponsors, and that would bring in money to the league.

Still, this pales in comparison to the lucrative offers from TV companies. It would be an enticing offer for fans and clubs, as it would make the availability to watch these teams straightforward and cheap for the viewers. That may draw more teams to the league if viewership is promising.

A22’s plan to offer free streaming to soccer fans worldwide also flies in the face of the possibility of having a streaming service such as Apple TV buying the global rights to a competition like this.

Is the promise of free streaming for the European Super League simply a false promise to win the hearts and minds of soccer fans worldwide? Or is it the future of streaming for sports fans?

Potential of the Super League

Any viewership of the league will have to wait until the future. There is no plan over when the European Super League will start up on this free streaming service. It would be a massive undertaking if it did happen. With 64 teams spread across the men’s Super League in three divisions, there would be strong potential for money. Meanwhile, that assumes the Super League can muster 64 teams to compete.

Again, based on verbal commitments, many of Europe’s best sides will stick to the UEFA competitions they are already involved in. That makes it challenging to think about the future of what this competition will look like. Barcelona and Real Madrid, though, seem adamant in their commitment to making this happen.