Sweden’s Kanal 5 nabs four World Cup qualifier matches

Sweden’s Kanal 5  has acquired rights to four of the country’s qualifying matches for soccer’s 2014 FIFA World Cup and a friendly match in a sub-licensing deal with commercial rival TV4.  Next year, Kanal 5 is set to broadcast Sweden’s home and away qualifying matches against the Republic of Ireland (on March 22 and September 22 respectively), the away match in Kazakhstan (on September 10) and the home match against Austria (on October 11), along with a friendly match.

The acquisition follows Kanal 5’s purchase of rights from TV4 to Sweden’s qualifier in Germany in October, a historic match that ended in a 4-4 draw after Sweden scored four goals in the last 28 minutes.

TV4 will retain rights to the Group C qualifying matches in Austria (on June 7) and at home to the Faroe Islands (on June 11) and Germany (on October 15).

Hans Pekkari, TV4’s head of sport, told Sportbladet, the Swedish newspaper, that the broadcaster has a busy schedule of sporting events in 2013, including ice hockey’s IIHF World Championship, soccer’s Women’s European Championships and athletics’ IAAF World Championships.

He said of the sub-licensing deal with Kanal 5: ‘‘This is not a money issue. It’s about prioritising and focusing so that we optimize our rights portfolio in the short and long term. Through this sale, we free up resources that we use to prioritise and focus on the many championships as we broadcast on TV4 Group next year.’’

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