Champions League and Europa League rights for the 2018-2021 period have been acquired by Telefónica barely 48 hours after the telco secured rights to LaLiga.
In an unexpected move, Telefónica has inked an agreement with Mediapro, which had been selected by UEFA a year ago as the only Champions League and Europa League broadcasting partner in Spain.
According to the telco, the investment for the acquisition of the rights for each of the next three seasons of the Champions League and the Europa League is €360 million, totalling €1.08 billion.
These come on top of the €2.94 billion spent by the telco to secure LaLiga pay-TV rights for three seasons starting 2019.
Under the terms of the agreement for the competitions, Telefónica is allowed to resell rights to other operators in Spain. The deal also includes the sharing of advertising revenues from the new channels that will be launched in the coming weeks. These channels will be Movistar branded.
Another of the main consequences of the agreement is the disappearance of beIN Sports as pay-TV home of European football competitions. However, Mediapro has retained UEFA rights for the streaming platform beIN Connect and will air one Europa League game on a free-to-air basis.
The telco has claimed that as a result of the agreement with Mediapro – still pending the necessary authorisation from UEFA – the company now holds 100% of the paid football rights in the Spanish residential market, “providing certainty, stability and growth to Telefonica's pay-TV business model in Spain over the next 3-4 years.”
“The award of the main lots of the rights of LaLiga last Monday cements Telefonica’s commitment to television with some of our customers’ most watched content, now completed with the Champions League and the Europa League,” pointed out Emilio Gayo, president of Telefónica España.
As for Mediapro, the group has stated that the agreement means a change of strategy. The broadcaster will focus on LaLiga and UEFA content for public venues and bars.
“This market segment is clearly less developed than the residential market and holds a great growth potential. There are less than 50,000 pay-TV subscriptions for bars in Spain,” stated the company.
Mediapro is considering launching a premium channel with LaLiga and the Champions League, in addition to other sports for public venues.