Telia and Match TV deals close Uefa club sales process in Nordics and Russia
By Jonathan Rest
Uefa and its Team Marketing agency have completed the European club competitions media rights sales process in the Nordic region and Russia for the 2021-22 to 2023-24 cycle.
As reported by Sportcal last month, Telia, the Stockholm-headquartered telecoms operator, has picked up Champions League rights in both Sweden and Finland, while Match TV, the sports broadcaster owned by Gazprom Media, has retained exclusive rights to all competitions in Russia.
Champions League matches will be shown in Sweden on TV4 Group, the commercial broadcasting group, and C More, its pay-TV broadcasting operation, and in Finland on commercial network MTV3.
The agreement also covers the Uefa Super Cup, the annual match between the winners of the Champions League and second-tier Europa League, and the Uefa Youth League, and is understood to be worth in the region of SKr1 billion ($100 million) per season.
Casten Almqvist, chief executive of TV4 Media, said: "The Uefa Champions League has been at the top of our wish list of sports rights for a long time. This is the first example of how TV4 Media with Telia as our owner will raise the bar. The Uefa Champions League will be an important ingredient in creating Finland’s and Sweden's best TV experiences."
The Uefa sales process in Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway began on 25 February, with bidders given until 31 March to submit bids for the 2021-22 to 2023-24 cycle. Separate tenders were issued in all four countries.
The process in Sweden and Finland went to a second round of bidding.
MTV3 shows the Champions League in Finland in the present cycle, while in Sweden Nordic Entertainment Group, the regional media giant, holds the rights.
MTV3 also shows the Europa League but from 2021-22 those rights will switch to NENT Group.
Early last month, NENT announced it had retained Champions League rights in Denmark until 2023-24 but lost its hold on the elite competition in Sweden and Norway for the first since the competition's inception in 1992.
TV2, the commercial broadcaster in Norway, acquired the Champions League rights in the country for the same cycle.
Although it lost some Champions League rights, NENT Group has acquired rights to the Europa League and new third-tier Europa Conference League in Sweden, Norway and Finland. Commercial broadcaster TV2 picked up Europa League and Europa Conference League rights in Denmark.
In Russia, Match TV will continue to show the Champions League and Europa League, and has added the Europa Conference League, to 2023-24.
Team launched the sales process in Russia back on 28 October, with first round bids due on 25 November.
Team went to market on the back of an intensification of competition for sports rights in Russia. Internet company Rambler&Co acquired English Premier League rights at the start of 2019, ousting Match TV in the process, and rival Yandex picked up National Hockey League rights in September.
During the group stages of this season's competitions, Match TV sub-licensed some matches to ivi, the Russian online video streaming service, to exploit on a pay-per-view basis.
It is understood Match TV fought off competition for the rights from a number of new streaming firms in Russia.
In addition to Rambler, Yandex and ivi, the players in this sphere include Megogo, which streams matches from Spain's LaLiga and Italy's Serie A.Sportcal