NENT Group extends Scottish league relationship in Infront-brokered deal
Nordic Entertainment Group, the regional media giant, has today retained rights to another European league after securing a new five-year deal for the Scottish Premiership.
Under the agreement with the Scottish Professional Football League, brokered by international sports marketing agency Infront, NENT Group will offer 48 matches per season from the country’s top division on its Viaplay streaming service through to the end of the 2024-25 campaign.
The coverage will be available in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and, with the launch of Viaplay in that country, Iceland for the first time.
Under the prolonged agreement, viewers will also have access to 35 additional games each season from the second-tier Scottish Championship and Scottish League Cup.
Switzerland-based Infront is responsible for the distribution of international media rights to the SPFL in a deal that runs to 2025, and the agency and the league have been striving to reconnect with broadcasters after the 2019-20 season was terminated early because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The new Scottish Premiership season started, behind closed doors, at the beginning of this month.
The renewal with the SPFL comes on the back of NENT Group’s bumper, six-year pan-Nordic deal for England’s Premier League, worth a reported $2.5 billion, to 2028, and an extended deal for Germany’s Bundesliga, to 2025.
It has also retained Uefa Champions League rights in Denmark, but lost its hold on the elite competition in Sweden and Norway, for the 2021-22 to 2023-24 cycle, while securing rights to the Europa League and new third-tier Europa Conference League in all three countries.
There are strong links between the Scottish Premiership and the Nordic countries, with the league having provided a home for many players from the region over the last few decades, notably Swedish star Henrik Larsson, who spent seven years with Celtic around the turn of the century.
Current Nordic players in the league include Norway’s Mohamed Elyounussi and Kristoffer Ajer at Celtic, Sweden’s Filip Helander at their Glasgow rivals Rangers and Melker Hallberg at Hibernian, Finland’s Miko Virtanen at Aberdeen and Glen Kamara (pictured) at Rangers and Iceland’s Ísak Þorvaldsson at St. Mirren.
Welcoming the new deal, Kim Mikkelsen, NENT Group head of sport, said: “Scottish football has held a special place in the hearts of Nordic fans for over half a century… This long-term extension of NENT Group’s Scottish Premiership rights reinforces our position as the Nordic home of live football, and we’re particularly looking forward to bringing the drama and intensity of the Scottish game to Viaplay viewers in Iceland for the very first time.”
Other soccer rights held by NENT Group include England’s English Football League and FA Cup, France’s Ligue 1, the Netherlands’ Eredivisie, Denmark’s Superliga, Euro 2020 and the Copa America (both now in 2021) and top women's leagues.
At the start of this month, NENT Group elevated Peter Nørrelund to a new role of executive vice-president and head of expansion and sport.
Nørrelund is responsible for NENT Group’s sports rights portfolio and the expansion of the Viaplay streaming service to specific markets where sport will be a major element, reporting to president and chief executive Anders Jensen.