The Jupiler League, the main Belgian football competition, has divided the broadcast rights to the live games between cable and IPTV, with contracts going to Belgacom TV, Telenet (Flanders) and VOO (Wallonia). Until now, Belgacom TV owned exclusive rights.
Following a tendering procedure with the Belgian football association offering six different lots, Telenet and VOO today have managed to acquire a number of exclusive pay television rights to broadcast the competition during the next three seasons. This allows Telenet to present the top three matches live and complete per match day on its Prime Sport channel, while VOO will broadcast it via the premium sports channel of its BeTV bouquet.
Telenet said in statement that is very pleased that, after six years, it is once more able to offer its customers the best and most important matches in Belgian football. Although Telenet did not release a figure, the t0tal paid for the matches is around €166 million for the next three seasons. This is €10 million more than the current amount Belgacom TV is paying per season.
Telenet tendered in partnership with VOO and with RTBF and Vmma and will broadcast the Dutch language version, while the Belgian operator VOO serving the French language market will broadcast the French language version. Likewise, RTBF will broadcast the capsule reports for Walloon and Vmma on its VTM channel for Flanders.
Belgacom tendered via its fully owned subsidiary Skynet, Skynet iMotion Activitie. The operator has acquired the rights to all five Saturday matches and will broadcast these on its IPTV platform. In a statement, Belgacom regretted the fact that the Jupiler League is now split up between two operators and, as a result, customers wishing to see all matches will now need to buy subscriptions to two different operators and have two set-top boxes on their TV.
Telenet will ask Studio A to produce the television broadcasts. “Our customers have repeatedly told us directly that they would appreciate it very much if Telenet too would broadcast the Belgian football competition,” said Duco Sickinghe, CEO of Telenet, in a statement. “For that reason we did our utmost to satisfy their demands, and financially we made an effort not only to acquire a number of Belgian football rights, but will also offer top-class international football as well on Prime Sport.”
Telenet was strongly in favour of a non-exclusive tendering and distribution of football rights, because then every Flemish football lover would get a chance to enjoy Belgian football through his trusted TV provider. In that context, Telenet made a substantial tender for non-exclusive television rights, for which there turned out to be insufficient support.
The six lots to be awarded are: Lot 1: Live coverage of games, selected 1st and 3rd place; Lot 2: Live coverage of a match, chosen in 2nd place; Lot 3: Live broadcast of the five other Division 1 matches (this is the lot going to Belgacom) Lot 4: Broadcast of game summaries (this one goes to VTM in Flanders and public broadcaster RTBF in Walloon); Lot 5: Monday Night Magazine (analysis, discussion, summary). and Lot 6: Broadcast of the yearly pro football Gala and the Belgian Supercup (lots 5 and 6 will also go to Telenet and VOO).