Dutch soccer’s top-tier Eredivisie has today finalized a long-term domestic media rights renewal with Disney-owned international sports broadcaster ESPN until 2030.
The extended deal, announced today by Eredivisie Media & Marketing (EMM), the joint venture between the Walt Disney Company, Eredivisie, and the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB), is worth a total of €750 million ($805.7 million) over the next five years.
ESPN’s existing deal was set to expire at the end of the 2024-25 season, with the network having been the domestic broadcaster for the Eredivisie since 2013, with an initial deal struck in 2012.
An extension was imminent after the 18 top-flight clubs voted unanimously to support the continuation of the agreement in October.
A group of six Eredivisie clubs composed an advisory committee to the Eredivisie during the negotiation process. The group included the traditional Dutch “big-3” of Feyenoord, PSV Eindhoven, and Ajax, as well as RKC Waalwijk, Vitesse Arnhem, and AZ Alkmaar.
As well as continued coverage of top-flight matches, the new deal will see more live matches shown from the Eerste Divisie, Dutch soccer’s second-tier, and Women's Eredivisie.
The vast majority of Eerste Divisie matches will be broadcast, while all women's games will be aired live every matchday.
Matches will primarily be shown on ESPN’s linear channels, while some games will be available on the ESPN Watch streaming platform.
The KNVB Cup competition, Johan Cruyff Shield (Dutch Super Cup), and Netherlands Under-21 national team matches will also remain live and exclusively available on ESPN for the coming years.
The renewed media rights tie-up will see the clubs involved in all competitions receive “substantial” revenue increases from the deal.
Under the new agreement, Eredivisie will also take over the league’s sponsorship rights and international media rights from EMM.
Meanwhile, VodafoneZiggo, Delta, KPN, and, T-Mobile, the Dutch telecommunications firms, have today also dropped their complaint over ESPN’s renewed rights deal.
In October, the companies complained to the country’s Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) claiming that they were unable to negotiate for the rights themselves and argued that the bidding process lacked transparency and fairness, and requested that the ACM intervene to enforce this.
The telcos initially sent a proposal to the league around securing the next set of domestic rights in mid-April.
The four companies had claimed that their joint deal would give each team more control and higher income than through the current ESPN tie-up, however, attempts to contact the Eredivisie were ignored.
They also suggested that their offer would be worth a minimum of €180 million per year for live rights, more than the €150 million per year the renewed ESPN tie-up will grant them.
Jan de Jong, Eredivisie's chief executive, said: “ESPN is a reliable, credible, and triple-A media partner for us, and more importantly, for the viewers. Moreover, we reach the largest possible audience. More than 90% of the Dutch households can tune in to us.
“It's a unique setup, a joint venture, unparalleled in Europe. And to top it off, it's with the Walt Disney Company. That speaks volumes. In addition, Eredivisie CV gains significant commercial freedoms for the future.
“The financial guarantees are solid, the compensations are considerably higher than before, and we have many opportunities to further increase the value and consequently the revenues. In short, it is a comprehensive package to which all 18 Eredivisie clubs unanimously said 'yes'.”