SKY, Mediaset agree to share UEFA matches

SKY — Italian satellite pay-TV and pay-on-demand TV broadcaster — and Mediaset — digital terrestrial operator with free, pay per view, and subscription (Premium) channels  —  have agreed to exchange sports TV programs. Beginning immediately and for the next three seasons, subscribers to the two networks will be able to see the top Champions League matches on Wednesdays and all other Europa League matches.

The two broadcasters had previously and separately obtained some TV rights from UEFA covering all soccer matches played in Europe during the 2012, 2013, and 2014 seasons. This meant that their subscribers could not follow the entire championship.

The Europa League competitors this year will be Inter, Napoli, and Lazio, and matches will be available in both “Sport” and “Calcio” offers. SKY is sub-licensing to Mediaset Premium the exclusive rights to rebroadcast the 128 Champions League soccer matches aired on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Mediaset’s free-view Italia 1 channel will in its turn rebroadcast exclusive and unscrambled in both SD and HD the best Italian Champions League match (Juventus, Milan, and possibly Udinese) on Wednesdays and the best Europa League match on Thursday. So soccer fans will be able to freely watch one of the two exclusive weekly matches; the semifinals and the “finalissima” will be similarly available.

In addition, Mediaset networks will also broadcast all highlights and all goals and recaps of all matches on Thursdays and Wednesdays. Exclusively on Mediaset Premium channels, soccer viewers can watch the whole Europa League and one single match on the other free channels.

To many people, this will seem like a cease-fire after an autumn last year and spring this year in which SKY was aggressive in acquiring a huge slice of TV rights for Formula 1, Champions League, and Motomondiale. The aggressiveness was seen as part of the broadcaster’s strategy to recover from a decrease in subscribers in 2012 due to the economic crisis.

The Sky On Demand service launched recently by SKY provides subscribers with a dedicated proprietary receiver, “My Sky HD”, through which all contents are streamed and almost 1,000 “titles” are already available for delayed viewing.

In the meantime, RAI has acquired the TV rights for Coppa Italia and Super Coppa Tim Cup for the next three years for 75 million euros. This follows the success of the 14th edition of “Europei di Calcio UEFA 2012” (8 June-1 July), which was seen live by more than 1.4 million soccer fans in more than 200 countries connected to the matches, a very positive summer season start that reverses the recent general trend of reduced investment in TV advertising.

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