Dutch cable company Zesko Holding has launched a surprise bid for the live Dutch football rights to the Eredivisie, the Dutch premier league competition. According to local newspaper reports, Zesko is prepared to pay up to €100 million for the right to broadcast all games live.
Zesko is the largest Dutch cable company, with the Casema, @Home and Multikabel networks reaching over 3.4 million Dutch homes. So far, the company has stayed away from acquiring broadcast rights. Three years ago the live rights were picked up by fledgling IPTV provider Versatel (now Tele2) as a marketing tool for the new service.
Other potential bidders could include Dutch public broadcaster NOS and commercial channels RTL and SBS for the highlights, and KPN, Chellomedia (UPC) and Tele2 for the live rights. During the past few weeks, all these parties have said they would probably not match prices paid three years ago, but this might just have been a ritual dance in preparation for negotiations. The tender for coverage of Dutch football closes this Thursday.