It goes without saying that the English Premier League is hugely popular in Central and Eastern Europe.
As a result, broadcasters across the region see coverage of it as something of a crown jewel in their sports offerings.
Take the Czech Republic and Slovakia, where Skylink, which is part of Canal+ Group, secured exclusive rights to the competition for three seasons, starting 2022-23. Canal+ sees the rights as a key part of its international development strategy and this August launched its proprietary channel Canal+ Sport, featuring coverage of the Premier League, in the two countries. It is now available on Skylink, freeSAT (also owned by Canal+), T-Mobile, Slovak Telecom and Digi Slovakia, which together reach around half of Czech and Slovak households.
Meanwhile in Poland, Canal+ suffered a major blow in 2021 when it lost out on the rights to the Premier League, which it had held for over 25 years, to the streaming service Viaplay, a newcomer on the Polish market. Since then, however, the parties have reached a sub-licensing agreement under which Canal+ subscribers can watch Premier League games for the current and next two seasons.
Viaplay holds the rights to the Premier League not only in Poland but also the three Baltic countries, where it launched in March last year, until 2028.
Elsewhere, Telekom Srbija raised many eyebrows last year when it agreed to pay around €100 million a season for the exclusive rights to the Premier League for 2022-28. This represented an estimated 700% increase on the €12 million a season paid by its competitor United Media between 2019-22 and was strongly criticised by the latter and its parent company, United Group. They argued that securing the rights by the state-owned telco was little more than a political move by the Serbian government, which is ultimately trying to force United Group to exit the country.
Telekom Srbija is now offering coverage of the Premier League on Arena Sport in the countries that made up the former Yugoslavia.
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