Pay-TV heavyweight BeIN Sports has secured rights to European soccer’s UEFA club competitions in New Zealand for the 2023-24 season after striking a sub-licensing deal with telecommunications firm Spark, the domestic rightsholder.
The one-year deal, first reported by news outlet the NZ Herald, will see BeIN air coverage of the top-tier Champions League (UCL), Europa League, and Europa League Conference during the upcoming season, with fans given access through a NZ$179 ($109) annual pass or NZ$129 for those who sign up before August 19.
Along with UEFA club rights, the pass will give New Zealand sports fans access to BeIN's current slate of soccer rights including England’s second-tier Championship games and its domestic Carabao Cup competition, Italy’s Serie A, Germany’s Bundesliga, France’s Ligue 1, and the Scottish Premier League.
The agreement comes after Spark announced it would shut down its sports subscription service in June halfway into its exclusive rights deal to show the UEFA competitions throughout the 2021-22 to 2023-24 cycle.
Spark succeeded Sky NZ as the rightsholder, with the pay-TV giant having shown the three competitions during the previous cycle.
The UEFA sub-licensing deal was mooted to be awarded to public-service broadcaster TVNZ after it announced the launch of a sports hub on its TVNZ+ streaming service to house rights gained from Spark Sports, including American football’s NFL.
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The hub also carries rights to international cricket matches involving New Zealand national teams, as well as all Super Smash matches and the domestic one-day finals.
TVNZ's platform also offers access to motorcycling’s MotoGP, Women’s Tennis Association matches and the US Open grand slam, English soccer’s Women’s Super League, FIBA basketball events, and golf’s Ladies European Tour.
The exit of Spark Sports, meanwhile, has seen Sky NZ regain rights to England’s Premier League and the prestigious Formula 1 championship. However, it has not renewed its long-standing partnership with BeIN.
Sky NZ secured a four-year carriage deal with BeIN in 2019, which saw Sky customers given access to BeIN’s content for free via its app, extending a partnership that had been running for the previous three years.
However, BeIN confirmed the deal had not been renewed, adding: “With this development, the BeIN Sports Connect OTT platform now stands as the exclusive destination for fans seeking a diverse selection of live and on-demand football content.”
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