Movistar Plus, the Spanish pay-television operator owned by telecoms giant Telefonica, has secured rights in the country to all matches during the upcoming FIFA 2022 men’s World Cup in Qatar after striking an agreement with media rights and production company Mediapro.
The deal will see Movistar Plus launch a dedicated 24-hour channel that will carry all 64 matches and additional programming, including analysis, news, interviews, training sessions, press conferences, and historic matches.
The rights package includes the 20 games public broadcaster RTVE secured as part of its free-to-air deal with Mediapro worth €35 million, as well as games involving the Spanish national team.
In a statement, the broadcaster said: “The platform will focus on the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and will broadcast the best reports, the most complete summaries, the statements of the protagonists, and the analysis of experts during a few weeks that promises to be unforgettable.”
The new rights add to Movistar Plus’ portfolio of soccer rights that also includes the Spanish top-tier LaLiga and second-tier Segunda Division, the European Super Cup, Italy’s Serie A, Germany’s Bundesliga, the Premier League via a partnership with over-the-top subscription platform DAZN, the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Europa League, and the UEFA Conference League.
Movistar Plus said customers who have subscriptions for its ‘LaLiga’ package or ‘All Football’ package will be able to access the new channel at no extra cost. New customers will have to sign up for the LaLiga or All Football package to access the channel.
Mediapro won exclusive rights in the country to this year’s World Cup in January 2019 after world governing body FIFA put out an invitation to tender for multi-platform broadcast rights to the tournament in November 2018. A deadline of December 6 was set for first-round bids.
At the time, it was reported Mediapro would divide the rights to the tournament into two packages to sell, with the first containing the 19 to 20 games that competition regulations require are covered free-to-air (including all fixtures of the Spanish national team), while the second package would cover all remaining matches.
As part of its free-to-air package of 20 games, RTVE will cover the tournament’s opening match, one match from each group, four round-of-16 matches, two quarter-finals, the two semi-finals, and the final.
The past three editions of the World Cup – 2010, 2014, and 2018 – have all been aired in Spain by Mediaset, the commercial broadcasting group, which also covered the Uefa European Championships last year on its Telecinco and Cuatro channels.
Movistar and DAZN secured the domestic rights to LaLiga for the next five years covering the 2022-23 to 2026-27 seasons for a combined total of €4.95 billion ($5.6 billion).
Under the new deals, Movistar broadcasts five matches per matchday plus three full matchdays, while DAZN will air five games per matchday.
The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will take place from November 21 to December 18 after being moved back to accommodate the searing temperatures in the Gulf state.