An audacious attempt by a little-known western Sydney start-up to secure the $60m Australian broadcast rights for the Uefa Champions League has fallen over.
Streaming service Sports Flick, which is headed by a 27-year-old former manager of a family building company, on Tuesday confirmed it would not seek to finalise its bid for one of the most watched sporting competitions in the world for the 2021-24 seasons.
But rather than any difficulties in securing funding for a package that also includes the Europa League and the planned Europa Conference League, a statement cited the current uncertainty brought on by the creation of the European Super League as the reason behind its withdrawal.
Chief executive Dylan Azzopardi, who founded Sports Flick in 2019, apparently blindsided current rights holders Optus and other major streaming players in March with a big-money bid in a blind auction.
At the time, Sports Flick said details of its rights deals are commercial in confidence and the bid’s financial backers remained unknown.
On Tuesday, a statement said Sports Flick had been issued with a bank guarantee for the media rights by “an Australian financial institution”.
“Sports Flick were contacted by Uefa representatives and given the opportunity to complete the media rights agreement yesterday,” the statement read.
“In light of the current uncertainty in European football, the directors and shareholders have made the decision not to proceed and provide the necessary contractual items to complete the deal at this time.
“Commercial factors of the bid have to be considered, with the uncertainty with respect to the participation of certain clubs in European competition. In line with its fiduciary duties, Sports Flick’s directors cannot in good faith commit investor funds to securing the media rights.”
Sports Flick’s parent company is DCA Sydney Enterprises, which is run by Azzopardi and his brother Justin.
The service has a niche offering of sports, including the Uefa Women’s Champions League, the K-League, the Austrian Bundesliga, the Liga Primera de Nicaragua and the Arabian Gulf League.
Other than football, it offers Serbian rugby league, some cricket Test matches, baseball and bareknuckle fighting.