Ukrainian Premier League launches first centralised domestic ITT
By Jonathan Rest
The Ukrainian Premier League, the top soccer division in the country, has launched an invitation to tender for domestic media rights for the next three seasons, the first time it has adopted a centralised sales approach.
The UPL said the tender, for 2019-20 to 2021-22, is open to all "broadcasters, media and telecommunication companies, as well as sports rights agencies."
Interested parties are able to bid exclusively for the rights, or certain packages.
The tender documents are available in Ukrainian and English and can be requested by filling out the appropriate forms at www.upl.ua/tender.
Bids must be submitted to the league by 6pm (EET) on 5 April.
The UPL said: "The centralised approach will create the prerequisites for a clearer and consistent coverage of the best football matches in Ukraine that will benefit the fans - both viewers and spectators in the stadiums - broadcasters and the media industry as a whole, as well as UPL, its clubs and Ukrainian football in general. UPL and its clubs see this as an important first step in a long-term project."
UPL games are presently shown domestically by Media Group Ukraine, on its pay-TV Football 1 and Football 2 channels, and Media Group 1+1, on its free-to-air 2+2 channel.
However, competition for the rights in the new cycle is set to come from Volia, the cable operator, which entered the sports rights buying market last year by landing Uefa Champions League and Europa League rights in the country in a three-season deal that also included incumbent MGU.
Volia shows the European matches on its new video-on-demand service 'Volia Football+'.
Megogo, the Eastern European streaming service that holds Spanish LaLiga rights in Ukraine, is thought to be another contender for the UPL rights.
The UPL had hoped to introduce a centralised domestic rights sales process in the 2016-17 season, but seven of the 12 top-flight clubs rejected the proposal.
Instead, the clubs went on to sign individual rights deals with broadcasters for the present three-year cycle that ends this season.