Eleven eventually lands carriage deal with Telenet; Renews with Vier
Eleven Sports, the international subscription broadcaster, and Telenet, the Belgian telecoms firm, have finally agreed a distribution deal for domestic soccer’s top-flight Pro League.
The two parties had been in talks for several weeks and failed to strike a deal before the start of the 2020-21 season last weekend but eventually came to an agreement on Friday before match day two of the campaign.
Eleven has also renewed its deal with commercial broadcaster Vier for Dutch-language highlights, after it held the rights in the previous three-year cycle.
The new agreements follow previous distribution deals agreed with Orange, Proximus, Voo, Télésat and TV-Vlaanderen for Eleven’s three Pro League channels.
With the Telenet agreement, Eleven said it has now secured “100 per cent linear distribution” for its Belgian soccer coverage, which also includes matches from the second-tier 1B, the Women’s Super League, the Belgian FA Cup, the knockout cups competition, the Belgian Super Cup and esports’ E-Pro League
Jeroen Bronselaer, residential marketing director at Telenet, said: “We realise that we disappointed a lot of customers when we could not offer football last weekend. So we have done everything possible over the past few days to reach an agreement.”
Despite striking a carriage deal for the Pro League, Telenet is still believed to be involved in a bitter legal dispute with Belgian soccer’s top-flight as it was seeking to launch arbitration proceedings in an effort to recoup rights fee payments made before the coronavirus-enforced cancellation of the 2019-20 season.
Telenet, along with Proximus and Voo, was recently ousted by Eleven as the rights-holder of the Pro League and paid a combined €80 million per year for the rights. Telenet is believed to be seeking to recoup its share of the €23 million final rights fee instalment.
The new deal between Eleven, which landed Pro League rights in a five-year agreement worth €103 million, and Vier is for “the coming seasons”
Dutch-language highlights from the opening round of fixtures for the new season were shown for free by Eleven on its OTT platform, its dedicated new Pro League linear channel and on its YouTube channel, as well as on the league’s official website.
In recent weeks, Eleven agreed a sub-licensing deal with RTBF, the country’s French-language public-service broadcaster, to offer highlights of the league, as well as an agreement with VRT, the public-service broadcaster, for Flemish-language highlights rights.