Oleg Petrov, chief executive of basketball-focused OTT streaming service Skweek, has told GlobalData Sport (Sportcal) that its owner Fedcom will resume media rights payments for France’s top-tier basketball competition, the Ligue Nationale de Basket (LNB) Elite.

Petrov stated that the multinational conglomerate Fedcom, owned by Russian-born Hungarian-Monegasque businessman Alexey Fedorychev, has faced issues in making rights payments to the LNB as a result of business issues stemming from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In March it was revealed that Skweek was facing a deficit with a reported value of between €2-3 million ($2.1-3.1 million) due to the political issues in Ukraine, and as such, had to delay LNB rights payments, a situation that in the following weeks Skweek and the LNB had stated would be resolved.

Speaking to GlobalData Sport, Petrov claimed that half of the current debt is on its way to being cleared already, adding that the service was never at risk of total default, but rather has been forced to simply delay payments, explaining: “There have been some payment delays due to the overall economic situation and the recent political developments in Europe have put some limitations on our ability to execute the payments quickly.

“It was never an issue of insolvency or inability to pay but it [was about] significant delays in terms of execution which we still face unfortunately.”

Petrov added that the only way for the company to navigate these issues and ensure that there is no broadcast blackout for the league is to continue to make its payments when it can.

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Alongside L’Equipe, Skweek acquired the French broadcast rights for the LNB Elite in June 2023 on a deal that stretches through 2030.

The OTT service aims to have a strong relationship to basketball in the country, also having secured the rights to Europe’s elite-tier EuroLeague through a deal with its official rights sales agency IMG.  

Skweek chief business officer Jose Luis Rosa also spoke to GlobalData Sport and stressed that the ongoing payment controversy will not affect its relationship with IMG, saying: “We've nurtured that relationship for quite some time. We've been doing business with IMG and the EuroLeague, this is now the third season in which we've had both sponsorship and broadcast rights and partnerships that were in place and are still in place for the next two seasons.

“I think there's quite a level of dramatism around that,” he added, stating: “We expect no problems there, we simply have to work on these delays, and to be able to do that we needed some flexibility from our partners, and luckily that has always been the case.

“IMG has always been a great partner we work with them not only on these deals in regards to EuroLeague basketball, but we use their streaming service so we have a deal with Endeavor streaming. And the flexibility we've asked for is something that we're very hopeful to solve and the conversations are very constructive. So, we don't foresee any blackouts.”