Team goes to market in Italy and Spain with Champions League TV rights
By Martin Ross
The Team Marketing agency has launched invitations to submit offers for broadcast rights in Italy and Spain to both the Uefa Champions League and Europa League from the 2018-19 season onwards.
Team this week went to market in two of Europe’s key media rights territories, following on from closing deals in France and the UK, while edging closer to an agreement in Germany.
Italian broadcasters have been asked to submit their first-round offers for Champions League and Europa League rights by 10am (CET) on 12 June, with Spanish broadcasters handed a deadline eight days later.
As expected, Uefa and Team have beaten Lega Serie A to the punch in going to market with their rights, with the Italian top tier’s tender process still being held up as it is scrutinised by the AGCM, the Italian competition watchdog.
Mediaset acquired the exclusive cross-platform rights to the Champions League in Italy from 2015-16 to 2017-18, in a deal worth a total of €700 million ($777.6 million). Rival Sky Italia picked up the rights to the second-tier Europa League for the same period.
In Spain, pay-TV’s BeIN Sports carries live coverage of all matches from the Champions League excluding first-pick games shown by national commercial free-to-air channel Antena 3 and by Catalan free-to-air channel TV3.
BeIN launched in Spain in 2015 after the pay-TV broadcaster and sports rights agency Mediapro jointly acquired exclusive pay-TV rights to the Champions League for three years for €120 million per season. Antena 3's owner Atresmedia pays around €40 million per year for its rights, while TV3’s parent company TVC shells out €5.6 million per year for coverage focused on local team Barcelona.
BeIN Sports also holds rights in Spain to the Europa League during the current three-season cycle.
Having landed lucrative deals in both France and the UK, Team has taken off some of the pressure going into the rights sales process in two of Europe’s other ‘big five markets’ and during an international sales process that is being turned around in just 18 months after being held up as Uefa decided on format changes.
SFR Sport, the Altice-owned pay-TV broadcaster, recently completed a dramatic clean sweep of rights in France to the Uefa Champions League and Europa League from 2018-19 to 2020-21, agreeing to pay around €370 million per season, more than double the value of the current contract.
That deal has left incumbent rights-holder BeIN angry and examining its legal options against Uefa over the French tender and it remains to be seen whether the broadcaster’s ire will have any impact on the nature of its bid in Spain.
In the UK, telecoms giant BT Sport retained rights to the two European club competitions until 2020-21, paying £1.18 billion ($1.53 billion) for the new three-year cycle, a 32-per-cent uplift on its current outlay.
Deals in Germany have still to be signed off following a lengthy invitation to tender process, although pay-TV’s Sky Deutschland and Perform’s subscription OTT player DAZN have both gone after the rights aggressively.
Mediaset has this season increased its free-to-air coverage of matches in the Champions League, having last season largely restricted the matches of Juventus and Roma to the subscription Mediaset Premium service.
Rival Sky has aired some Europa League matches on TV8, its free-to-air digital terrestrial channel.
Meanwhile, Team was due on Thursday to kick off the media rights sales processes in Slovenia to the Champions League and Europa League from 2018-19 onwards, as reported by Sportcal on 8 May.