TVP, the Polish public-service broadcaster, has secured domestic coverage rights to soccer’s top-tier Ekstraklasa, through a sub-licensing deal with pay-TV’s Canal Plus.

The agreement comes midway through the 2023-24 Ekstraklasa season, which so far has been shown exclusively on a domestic basis by Canal Plus. That network retained rights for the 2023-24 to 2026-27 cycle through a deal unveiled in October 2022, a four-year contract worth PLN1.3 billion ($299.2 million), or PLN325 million a year.

TVP is showing 15 matches from the remainder of this season, taking the Sunday 5:30pm slot, which often features the most anticipated Ekstraklasa game each weekend. The first match under the terms of that deal took place yesterday, as Śląsk Wrocław lost 1-0 to Pogoń Szczecin.

The previous sub-licensing tie-up between TVP and Canal Plus covering the Ekstraklasa expired at the end of 2022-23 and had not been renewed up until this point. This meant that the first few months of this year’s Ekstraklasa season – which began in July – were not available free-to-air.

In addition to linear broadcasting, Ekstraklasa games will be made available live on the TVP mobile app, and its other digital platforms. As well as this, the public-service broadcaster will also cover an Ekstraklasa-focused highlights show, in which viewers will be able to see goals and other highlights from all games across the 18-team league.

It has been reported that for the deal to finally be struck, Canal Plus had to significantly lower its asking price in terms of a rights fee from TVP.

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Tomasz Sygut, TVP’s general director, has now said: “We are satisfied with the outcome of the negotiations. The signed agreement pleases us and confirms our vision of sport, which should be widely available and free of charge to all viewers.”

TVP has now added Ekstraklasa rights to its four-year deal with the Polish Football Association announced in October.

That tie-up covers the Polish Cup and Polish Super Cup competitions, the women’s top-tier Orlen Ekstraliga, the final of the Orlen Polish Cup, as well as the second and third-tier I Liga and II Liga men’s leagues, until 2027.

Towards the end of 2022-23, Canal Plus began providing coverage of the Ekstraklasa on YouTube.

Marcin Animucki, the Ekstralasa’s president, commented: “This is great news for the league and all soccer fans. We are glad that our games will once again be able to be watched in all Polish homes, which is also of great importance for the long-term development of soccer in Poland and the popularization of Polish games among a wide range of fans, including the young generation.”