DAZN secures EHF club competition rights in DACH and Spain to 2026
By Jonathan Rest
DAZN, the international over-the-top streaming platform that is a commercial partner of the European Handball Federation, has acquired rights to the sport's continental clubs competitions in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Spain for the next six seasons.
The Infront agency and DAZN handle the EHF’s commercial rights for 2020 to 2030 in an agreement worth between €500 million ($593.2 million) and €600 million in rights fees and services.
To avoid any conflicts of interest, Infront brokered the rights deal with DAZN in the four countries, in what was described today as a "competitive pitch process."
The agreement runs from 2020-21 to 2025-26 and includes the men's and women's Champions Leagues, the new EHF Handball League and the EHF European Cup.
Infront and DAZN were left searching for a broadcast partner in Germany, one of the strongest handball markets in Europe, after pay-TV operator Sky Deutschland announced last month that it had no intention of bidding to retain the rights after its six-year deal expired after the 2019-20 campaign.
DAZN already held rights to the EHF Cup in Germany and Austria until the end of 2019-20 season.
Antonio Dominguez, Infront senior director of handball, said: "All of these countries are key territories for handball and securing agreements in these countries was important to continue the sports growing appeal. Fans across Europe will now be able to enjoy watching some of the world's best handball stars at a consistent and high standard production level after these competitive agreements were reached."
James Chubb, vice-president of global partnerships, DAZN, added: "These broadcast deals largely complete a successful sales process that will bring handball to its passionate and growing fanbase across Europe. Combined with a revamped production, digital and marketing strategy, the next 10 years will see us and Infront work with EHF and EHFM to grow the popularity of the sport across all platforms."
A rights deal has also been secured in Belarus with public-service broadcaster BTRC covering club competitions over the next three seasons, while Sportcal understands that a widely-reported rights agreement in France with Eurosport has not yet been finalised.
The Discovery-owned broadcaster is understood to be closing in on multi-year deal that would also include FIS Alpine skiiing rights, also marketed by Infront.
Pay-TV's BeIN Sports has shown the EHF Champions League in France for the past eight seasons, but is understood to be concerned by the shift from weekend to midweek fixtures in the men's competition from 2020-21.
The switch of men's Champions League matches to midweek was ratified in December 2018 after extensive talks with Infront, DAZN, clubs, leagues and players.
The EHF said that at the time that the change “means not only an ‘appointment to view’ each week for fans but also much better scheduling options for TV partners in the future, with no overlap of men’s and women’s top competitions in the future.”
While BeIN will not, therefore, show the 2020-21 men's Champions League, which gets under way on 16 September with four matches, in France, it will still broadcast the delayed 2019-20 Final4, which will take place in Cologne, Germany in December.
The new women's EHF Champions League season begins this weekend, with eight matches across Saturday and Sunday, all of which will be shown for free across Austria, Germany, Spain and Switzerland on EHFTV, the federation's streaming platform.
Other broadcasters signed up for the new rights cycle beginning 2020-21 include Nordic Entertainment Group in the Nordic region, Arena Sport in the Balkan region and AMC Networks International in Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia.