Telefonica to pay €2.4bn for Spanish soccer and Champions League matches rights

Telefonica, Spain’s biggest telecommunications operator, agreed to pay €2.4bn for rights to Spanish soccer and Champions League matches, a move that gives the company’s pay-TV service sports telecasts its competitors already have.

Telefonica will pay Mediaproduccion for rights to the Spanish first division and two other tournaments for three seasons starting in 2016-2017, according to a regulatory filing in Madrid.

It will also broadcast the European Champions and UEFA leagues, starting immediately and continuing through the 2017-2018 season. Under the agreement, the BeIN Sports channel will be added to Telefonica’s pay-TV services, according to the filing.

Telefonica, which broadcasts soccer through its Movistar brand, is catching up with its main rivals in its domestic market, Vodafone and Orange.

Both have agreements with Mediapro to broadcast the current Champions League, which started in the second half of 2015.

Telefonica controls around 85% of Spain’s pay-TV market following the acquisition of DTS Distribuidora de Television Digital last year.

“The agreement reached with Mediapro over domestic and European football means that Telefonica matches rivals for this season, while providing a superior choice for the next three seasons,” Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Javier Borrachero said.

“This validates the TV strategy as an enabler of customer growth and churn reduction.” Telefonica rose 1.5% at one stage in Madrid.

A growing reliance on television content, including sports and films, to lure Spanish users helped Telefonica in the third quarter post revenue growth in the country for the first time since 2008.

Revenue in the company’s largest market rose 0.2% in the period, the first growth since the same quarter of 2008.

Telefonica in July announced the acquisition of Spanish media rights to the 2015-2016 domestic league.

In recent years, the company has also acquired rights to other sports events, such as Formula 1 motor racing.

BT Group last year agreed to pay £320 million (€426.7m) a year for the UK rights for 42 matches a season of the English Premier League between 2016 and 2019.


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