Eleven and TVI close in on free-to-air Champions League deal in Portugal
Eleven Sports, the international subscription broadcaster, has entered into exclusive negotiations with TVI, the commercial network in Portugal, regarding the sale of a free-to-air package of Uefa Champions League rights.
Eleven said today that it hopes to have more details on the proposed agreement, aimed at complying with listed events legislation in Portugal, next week.
Eleven announced its entry into Portugal in May, armed with rights to Europe's top clubs competition and Spain's LaLiga from 2018-19 to 2020-21.
It will replace Sport TV, the pay-TV broadcaster, as the main rights-holder of those competitions, with RTP, the public-service broadcaster, having shown one Champions League game per week in the previous three-year cycle, paying around €5.3 million ($6.21 million) per year for the privilege.
RTP announced at the beginning of March that it had taken the “thoughtful and prudent decision” to cease coverage of the Champions League, claiming that the rights costs involved were too high.
Eleven will show 138 matches per season from the Champions League, including the final qualifying round, as well as the Uefa Super Cup, the annual contest between the winners of the Champions League and the secondary Europa League.
However, due to the listed events legislation in Portugal, the finals of both competitions, the Super Cup, one Champions League fixture involving a Portuguese team from each match week and Europa League games from the quarter-final stage onwards that involve Portuguese sides must be shown on free-to-air TV.
TVI showed the free-to-air weekly Champions League match in Portugal in the 2012-13 to 2014-15 cycle.
Portuguese champions FC Porto have qualified automatically for the group phase of the 2018-19 Champions League, but rivals Benfica will have to get through two qualifying rounds to reach the same stage.