BeIN Sports, Mediapro Snag UEFA Champions League From 2018

The partners also acquire UEFA Europa League games

MADRID — Confirming one of the key content deals of 2017 for Spain, BeIN Sports and Mediapro announced Wednesday that they have acquired in exclusivity for Spain all UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League matches over the 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-2012 seasons.

The games will be aired on beIN Sports, the joint venture of the Qatari-owned beIN Media Group and Mediapro launched in Spain in 2015 and carried by major pay TV operators in Spain: Movistar +, Vodafone, Orange, Telecable and Deion Comunicaciones.

BeIN Sports already has rights to nearly all matches from both competitions from the 2015-16 to 2017-18 season. This time round, however, beIN Sports will carry all matches, nixing a free-to-air game screened on Tuesday nights.

Given Spain’s dominance of the UEFA Champions League, which Spanish clubs have won four times in the last five years – Real Madrid alone three times – this is a key deal for Spain. With Real Madrid, Barcelona F.C. and Atletico de Madrid among the four-to-five favorites in Europe to reach at least the semi-final stage of the competition, two games will be broadcast at 7.00 pm in Spain to try to avoid last season’s clash of major games at the classic 8.45 pm slot. Two Spanish teams will only play at the same time if five clubs make the initial group stage.

No figure was given for the UEFA-beIN Sports/Mediapro deal.

Accounting for 60% of pay TV subscribers in Spain, Movistar + lost out in the bidding for the new rights. The large question show much it and other operators will now have to pay for a new round of UEFA rights via continued carriage of beIN Sports.

Pay TV penetration in Spain remains relatively low, at only 31% of households, said Richard Broughton, research director at London-based Ampere Analysis.

In the case of tying down rights, Movistar + would, however, have had to have offered them to pay TV rivals at a fair market price, observing an anti-trust ruling introduced to allow Movistar + to buy dominant Spanish pay TV Canal Plus. One reason for its drive into producing original drama series, on which it is allowed to retain exclusive rights.

The migration to pay TV of key soccer rights is a trend seen in other markets. “While Spain has been behind the trend of other markets it’s in line with general developments,” Broughton said.

Another large question is how pay TV only may drive up its penetration in Spain, or affect fan bases.

For Broughton, “there is some evidence from other markets where rights have gone pay only that younger consumers are put off or never initiated into paying for sport content so they are less interested.

He added: “The effect is subtle but we can pick it up in some of our data with younger consumers.”

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend Podcast

    Conan O'Brien on Podcasting and Why Late-Night TV Rivalries Are Over

    “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” is an irresistible mixture of philosophical discussions about art and life and pure zaniness. It’s a program from the late-night host turned podcasting ringmaster that defies easy characterization, and a show that manages to move seamlessly from moments of hilarity to unexpected instances of confession. In one episode, Jeff Goldblum [...]

  • Hollywood Recession Business Placeholder

    How an Economic Downturn Could Ravage Hollywood

    Trade-war fears, stock market volatility and, most recently, bond market signals that point to a pending recession are rattling investors, igniting concerns that another devastating downturn may be just around the corner. As those worries reverberate all the way from Wall Street to Hollywood, the entertainment industry is in for an unsettling reminder of the [...]

  • Apple TV Plus

    Apple TV Plus Will Cost $9.99 per Month, to Launch in November (Report)

    Apple is reportedly looking to launch the Apple TV Plus subscription-video service in November — around when Disney Plus is set to debut — for $9.99 per month. Apple TV Plus will bow in November with a “small selection” of shows, Bloomberg reported, citing anonymous sources. At $9.99, which analysts have guessed would be the [...]

  • RuPaul Charles - Outstanding Reality -

    RuPaul Charles to Receive Variety's Vanguard Award at Mipcom

    “RuPaul’s Drag Race” leader RuPaul Charles has been tapped to receive the Variety Vanguard Award at the Mipcom international TV sales conference, set for Oct. 14-17 in Cannes. The award recognizes television industry leaders who have made a significant contribution to the global business of entertainment. Charles has hosted and executive produced the VH1 franchise “RuPaul’s Drag [...]

  • The Tempest review all female

    Harriet Walter Joins 'Killing Eve' as Third Season Begins Production

    British actress Harriet Walter has joined the cast of BBC America’s multi-award winning “Killing Eve” for its third season, which began production this week. Danny Sapani has also been announced to join the cast of the show, which stars Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer. The Olivier Award-winning and Tony-nominated Walter recently finished production on Julian [...]

  • TV News Roundup: Netflix Drops Trailer

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Drops Trailer for Ryan Murphy's 'The Politician' (Watch)

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix has drops the first trailer for “The Politician,” and “Killing Eve” adds two to its cast for season 3.  CASTING Harriet Walter and Danny Sapani, both alums of “The Crown,” are set to join the cast of “Killing Eve” for its third season. British writer Suzanne Heathcote, whose past credits include [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content