Holding the broadcasting rights to the English Premier League is a valuable commodity in Central and Eastern Europe.
This weekend marks the start of the 2019-20 season, with Liverpool hosting promoted Norwich City in the first game on Friday evening, and also the launch of a new channel in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Operated by Digi CZ, whose owner holds the Premier League rights, Premier Sport HD will initially be distributed by T-Mobile, Digi TV and O2 in the Czech Republic and Slovak Telekom, Digi and Orange in Slovakia.
Meanwhile in Poland, the DTH platform nc+, which holds the rights to the Premier League for the next three seasons, will kick off its coverage by showing seven games this weekend, one of which, between Manchester United and Chelsea, will be in 4K.
In neighbouring Ukraine, the newcomer Setanta Sports, which only launched in the country at the beginning of this month, holds the exclusive rights to the Premier League. It will show no fewer than six games live during each round and in addition offer viewers coverage of the Scottish Premier League and other sports on an exclusive basis, including NHL, NBA and Formula 1.
Setanta Sports is being distributed in Ukraine by StarLight Media and – interestingly – initially being offered exclusively on OTT services. Earlier this week we learnt that DivanTV has signed a deal to broadcast Setanta Sports and will make it available from this month in its subscription packages with seven-day catch-up.
Elsewhere in the region, Eurosport is the go-to destination for coverage of the English Premier League in Romania, where it holds the rights for the next three seasons.
In Russia, the Premier League rights, also for the next three years, are held by Rambler Group, while All Media Baltics (AMB) holds them in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.