Telefónica and DAZN competing for Champions League rights in Spain
Telefónica, the Spanish telecoms giant and incumbent broadcaster, and DAZN España, the local arm of the international over-the-top sports streaming service, are vying for rights to the Uefa Champions League in the next three-year cycle.
Today was the deadline for bids to be submitted for rights to European club competitions for the 2021-22 to 2023-24 seasons, with Telefónica, which shows elite Champions League and second-tier Europa League matches via pay-television operator Movistar Plus, and DAZN, which only launched in Spain last year, the prime contenders.
Telefónica has indicated that it is keen to retain the competitions, but not at any price, which opens the door to DAZN, particularly as Uefa and its agency partner Team Marketing have split the Champions League rights into five packages.
There are two concurrent sales processes, one for the Champions League, Super Cup and Youth League, and the other for the second-tier Europa League and new third-tier Europa Conference League.
DAZN is expected to make a major play for the competitions, which would be a significant boost to its line-up as it seeks to put down greater roots and attract new subscribers in Spain.
The service launched in February 2019 armed with rights to English soccer’s Premier League, European basketball’s EuroLeague and motorcycling’s MotoGP World Championship, and has since moved further into soccer, notably in sub-licensing a package of rights to Spain’s Copa del Rey from commercial broadcaster Mediaset España, in a three-year deal.
Mediapro, the Spanish media rights and production agency, and its pay-TV partner in the country BeIN Sports acquired live rights to the Champions League and Europa League from 2018-19 in a three-year, €1.05-billion ($1.19-billion) deal.
They subsequently sold the rights on to Telefónica for €360 million per season although Mediapro does still show one Europa League game involving a Spanish team on each matchday on Gol, its free-to-air channel.
Telefónica has since consolidated its position as the main home of Spanish soccer by securing the lion’s share of rights to LaLiga, including the first-choice live match from the top flight each week, and eight others, in deals worth €2.94 billion over three years, until 2021-22 although, under Spanish competition regulations, it has to make 50 per cent of its premium content, including sports and movie channels, available to rival telecoms and OTT services, helping it make a return on its rights investments.
The Champions League rights packages in Spain for the next three-year cycle comprise:
A1 – 16 first-pick live games on Tuesday nights, plus 33 magazine shows per season.
A2 – 16 first-pick live games on Wednesday nights, the final and the Super Cup, plus 33 magazine shows per season.
B – 104 games not in packages A1 and A2, plus 33 magazine shows per season. Includes delayed coverage of games.
C1 – Summaries and highlights of Tuesday night games.
C2 – Summaries and highlights of Wednesday night games, plus summaries of the final and the Super Cup
Uefa and Team have already concluded rights deals for the clubs competitions in the next cycle in the UK, France and Germany, leaving Italy as the only one of Europe’s big five markets where the sales process has yet to begin.
They have also now gone to market in the Nordic region, the Balkans and Malta, while a deal in Russia has yet to be concluded.