MP & Silva set to replace BeIN as IHF global rights-holder to 2025
By Jonathan Rest
The International Handball Federation, the sport's governing body, has selected a bid from MP & Silva, the international sports marketing agency, to become its exclusive global media distributor from 2019 to 2025.
Sportcal understands that no contract has been signed, but that the offer from MP & Silva was chosen yesterday by the IHF after it reviewed all bids during a council meeting in Turkey.
The deal covers the showpiece biennial men’s and women’s World Championships, with MP & Silva set to replace BeIN Media Group, the international pay-TV broadcaster, as the international federation's rights partner.
The contract includes the full broadcast production of the World Championships and “additional production obligations,” with the IHF having stressed in the tender that it will not be liable for any production costs, including any associated with the federation’s online streaming platform.
The contract will be a considered a significant win for MP & Silva, whose future strategy has been questioned in recent months following the loss of international rights to Italian soccer’s Serie A, a property the agency has been selling since 2004, and a lack of major rights acquisitions in the last 12 months amid big spending by rival IMG.
That all led to Seamus O’Brien, former deputy chairman of the executive committee at Lagardère Sports, replacing Jochen Lösch as president and group chief executive of the group last month.
The IHF launched the tender in mid-September, with interested parties only given until the end of that month to submit their offers.
Lagardère Sports is understood to have been one of those vying with MP & Silva to land the IHF international rights.
In that timeframe, the men’s World Championships will be hosted by Denmark-Germany (2019), Egypt (2021) and Sweden-Poland (2023), with the women's events taking place in Japan (2019), Spain (2021) and Denmark-Norway-Sweden (2023). The 2025 tournaments have yet to be assigned.
BeIN's contract expires at the end of the year and is worth a record SFr88 million ($88.3 million) in rights fees and SFr12 million in production costs. That agreement represented a marked increase on the estimated SFr60 million paid by the UFA Sports agency between 2010 and 2013 as the Doha-based broadcaster invested heavily in a contract that included its 'home' World Championships in Qatar.
BeIN employed the Pitch International agency to sell the IHF rights globally.
|Historical timeline of IHF's worldwide media rights-holders|
|BeIN Media Group||2014 to 2017|
|UFA Sports||2010 to 2013|
|Sportfive (now Lagardère Sports)||2006 to 2009|
|2002 to 2005|
|Sport+ (one of entities merged in 2001 to create Sportfive)||N/A|
One of MP & Silva's major priorities will be to meet the IHF's wish to have more free-to-air coverage in key markets across Europe, most notably Germany. Indeed, in July IHF president Hassan Moustafa flagged up his hope that the federation’s next international rights partner is “open” to talks with free-to-air broadcasters in Germany.
It was BeIN’s opposition to the international availability of the satellite signal of ZDF, the German public-service broadcaster, that proved to be an insurmountable obstacle in free-to-air rights negotiations in Germany, leading to coverage of the men’s 2015 and 2017 Championships on pay-TV’s Sky Deutschland and a hastily-arranged online streaming service, respectively.
Meanwhile, also at the IHF meeting in Turkey, Moustafa was re-elected federation president.
The Egyptian, IHF president since 2000, was once again unopposed in the ballot.