There’s been a flurry of activity in sports broadcasting in Central and Eastern Europe in recent weeks.
Much of it has been focused on Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, with the main trigger being the start of the new football season.
So what have been the most important developments? In Poland, the lead has undoubtedly been taken by the national commercial broadcaster Polsat, which earlier this month launched two 24-hour Super HD sports channels and four pay-per-view services. It has also just opened the most modern sports TV studio in the country and begun airing the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League on Cyfrowy Polsat, Cyfrowy Polsat GO, Plus and Ipla.
Meanwhile, in the Czech Republic one of the main pacesetters has been the DTH and internet TV operator Digi CZ. It holds the rights to several key football competitions including the Premier League, Serie A and Bundesliga and recently signalled its intention to shortly launch a fourth channel, named Digi Sport 4 HD.
In Slovakia, the incumbent Slovak Telekom has also just revealed that it plans to double the number of sports channels it operates to 10 this autumn. The five new services will not be on air 24 hours daily, instead offering coverage of key competitions in such sports as football and tennis.
However, Orange is also becoming increasingly active in sports broadcasting in Slovakia. It holds the rights to the Champions League and has launched a new proprietary sports channel.
Elsewhere, Gazprom Media and the Russian Premier League (RPL) announced the launch of a new football channel in late July. Known as Match Premier, it offers coverage of Russian football and major European leagues and has already secured carriage on such leading platforms as Akado and NTV-Plus.
Eurosport 4K also made its debut in Russia earlier this summer and is now carried by Tricolor TV and MTS.
Clearly these are busy times for sports broadcasting in the CEE region and there is undoubtedly much more to come.