The English Premier League, with over a billion global fans, is undeniably the world’s most popular domestic soccer competition. Over the years, its immense popularity across the world has resulted in a spike in the value of the league’s foreign television rights which, at the time of the Premier League’s inception in 1992, stood at £7.6 million per year.
Today, the Premier League could earn up to £3.2 billion ($4.7 billion) from its foreign broadcast deals for the 2016-2019 broadcast cycle according to forecasts from UK newspaper, The Mail on Sunday.
Africa, where the league enjoys unrivaled popularity, has become an increasingly important soccer TV rights market over the years. With the next broadcast cycle running from 2016 to 2019 beginning later this year (broadcast rights are sold for three-year windows), SuperSport, broadcasters of the Premier League in sub-Saharan Africa will pay £296 million, 44% more than it did for 2013-2016, to air the matches to millions of viewers on the continent according to the forecast.
Soccer, or rather, football, has a huge audience in Africa but locally, there are very few leagues good enough in organization, scheduling and branding to command audiences that can rival the Premier League on the continent.
African fans look to Europe and the English Premier League for their regular fix of watching some of game’s biggest stars.. While the big clubs in England are well supported by African fans, star African players like Yaya Toure, the Ivorian midfielder who plays for Manchester City, also prove to be a big draw for African audiences. Similarly, emerging talent from the ongoing season such as Algeria’s Riyadh Mahrez (Leicester City), statistically one of the best players in the league this season, and Nigeria’s Odion Ighalo (Watford), the top scorer in English football in 2015, are also providing African fans with an extra reason to follow games weekly.