Movistar Plus widens access to Uefa Super Cup as audience down for Spanish version
Movistar Plus, the Spanish pay-television operator, has expanded access to its live coverage of this week’s Uefa Super Cup between domestic rivals Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid, but the match will still not be available on a free-to-air basis.
Movistar Plus, which is owned by telecoms giant Telefónica, revealed today that Wednesday’s all-Spanish affair in the Estonian capital Tallinn can be viewed by all of its subscribers, and not just those who pay for the new premium Liga de Campeones channel.
This will ensure that around 4 million customers will have access to the traditional curtain-raiser to the Uefa club competition season, which kicks off at 9pm Spanish time.
The match between Real, the winners of the 2017-18 Champions League, and Atlético, who were victorious in the equivalent Europa League, can also be seen by Orange TV subscribers with access to Liga de Campeones via a carriage deal between Telefónica and Orange.
Today’s decision will help to allay concerns over restricted access and a potentially small audience for the Super Cup although Telefónica is under no obligation to offer the match free-to-air under Spanish legislation concerning events of general interest, nor does it have to share coverage with other broadcasters under its commitments to the CNMC, the Spanish competition regulator.
Last year’s Super Cup, in which Real Madrid beat England's Manchester United, was shown by Antena 3, the Spanish free-to-air commercial broadcaster owned by Atresmedia, and attracted an average audience of 4.5 million viewers, a 38.6-per-cent share.
Antena 3 also showed one match per round from the Uefa Champions League, but this is no longer the case as exclusive pay-TV-only rights to the European club competitions in 2018-19 onwards were snapped up by Mediapro, the Spanish sports rights agency, in a three-year deal worth €1.05 billion ($1.2 billion).
Mediapro has subsequently sold on the retransmission rights for the residential market to Telefónica for €1.08 billion, with the only guaranteed free-to-air coverage being one match per round of games from the Europa League.
The deal with Telefónica has entailed the closure of the BeIN Sports channel, owned by Mediapro and BeIN Media Group, the Qatar-based international broadcasting group, albeit another Spanish linear channel BeIN LaLiga, which focuses on Spain's top league, and the over-the-top service BeIN Connect have been retained.
Jaume Roures, Mediapro’s co-founder, said last week that the company was in negotiations with Telefónica about showing the Champions League on BeIN Connect when the group stage starts next month, but no such arrangement is in place for the Super Cup.
Liga de Campeones went on air on Thursday, and offers live matches from England's Premier League, Germany's Bundesliga and France's Ligue 1, as well as the European club competitions.
• TVE, the Spanish public-service broadcaster, drew an average of 4.8 million viewers for its free-to-air live coverage of yesterday’s Supercopa de España between Barcelona and Sevilla.
The audience on the La1 channel equated to a share of 36.5 per cent.
The number of viewers peaked at 5.4 million, a 39.7-per-cent share, at 10.45pm as Barcelona completed a 2-1 victory courtesy of a spectacular winning goal from French forward Ousmane Dembélé.
The title was decided over one match, held in Tangier in Morocco, as opposed to over two legs played on the grounds of the competing teams, as has been the case in the past, and the audience failed to hit the heights of last year.
In 2017, Telecinco, the main channel of free-to-air commercial broadcaster Mediaset España, pulled in more than 7.1 million viewers for both legs of the Supercopa contested by traditional rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona.
This was complemented by audiences of 750,000 and 560,000 for the two games on TV3, the Catalan public-service broadcaster.
TVE won the rights to this year's Supercopa after there was limited interest from other parties, with Telefónica and Mediapro not even entering the race, according to reports.
Higher production costs, given the need to transport personnel, mobile units and cameras to North Africa, and the need to pay for the international satellite signal, were said to be reasons cited by broadcasters.