Movistar, the Spanish pay-television operator owned by telecoms giant Telefónica, is set to continue its exclusive coverage of European soccer’s club competitions after renewing its rights deal with governing body UEFA for the 2024-27 cycle.
The three-year renewal will see Movistar retain its exclusive rights package to broadcast top-tier Champions League (UCL) matches, as well as second-tier Europa League and third-tier Europa Conference League fixtures starting from the 2024-25 season in a deal worth €960 million ($1.053 billion) in total, or €320 million per season.
The package also includes rights to the UEFA Super Cup, the match that sees the winners of the UCL and Europa League face off at the start of each season in a neutral venue, as well as the UEFA Youth League.
The UEFA Women’s Champions League, meanwhile, will continue to be covered by the subscription service DAZN.
The deal was communicated to Spain’s National Securities Market Commission by Telefonica today (August 1), with that firm saying the agreement will “allow Telefonica Audiovisual to offer all the main European football competitions to its customers in the residential segment.”
Telefonica added the rights agreement is still subject to the formalization of a contract with UEFA, which is expected soon.
A tender for these UEFA club competition rights in Spain was launched on May 9, with a deadline for offers of June 13.
The €960 million price tag is less than what Telefonica paid for its current rights deal, running from 2021-22 to 2023-24, which cost €975 million in July 2020. The broadcaster also held rights to all European competitions in Spain for the previous 2018-19 to 2020-21 rights cycle.
As it has done previously, Telefonica plans to launch different channels to broadcast the matches and market them to third parties to recover part of its investment.
The new rights cycle corresponds to the new format of the UCL starting next year. The number of participating teams will increase from 32 to 36, with each side in the initial group stages to play eight games, up from six at present.
Movistar Plus’ extension follows on from multiple other UCL rights tie-ups having been concluded in Europe over the last few months, meanwhile.
Sky Italia, the dominant Italian pay-TV operator, retained its exclusive right package to broadcast 185 of the 203 UCL matches per season, as well as all 342 Europa League and Europa Conference League matches for the next cycle. Amazon Prime Video, the streaming platform of the global tech and retail giant, holds the 2024-27 rights in Italy to the remaining UCL matches through a deal struck in February.
Existing partner Canal Plus has renewed in France, Netherlands telecom operator Ziggo has snapped up all rights, while coverage will be split between BT Sport and Amazon in the UK.
In other key territories, Paramount Global, the major US broadcast network, has retained English-language rights to the UCL through a six-year deal starting in 2024.
Rights have also recently been allocated in Austria and Switzerland.
Last month, Movistar relaunched its OTT streaming television service Movistar Plus to group its sports and entertainment content on one platform. Along with UEFA rights, other soccer rights include Spain’s top-tier LaLiga and second-tier LaLiga 2, the Spanish Super Cup, the German Bundesliga, and the Italian Serie A.
Other sports, meanwhile, include domestic basketball’s Liga ACB, North America’s NBA and NFL Super Bowl, rugby union’s Six Nations, and tennis’ Wimbledon grand slam and ATP Masters 1000 events.
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