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Mediapro, Canal Plus at loggerheads

July 15, 2013

From David Del Valle in Madrid

football-RonaldoPay-TV operator Canal Plus and Mediapro, shareholder in the commercial channel La Sexta, are once again involved in a fierce fight over pay-TV football rights. Canal Plus has asked for an independent body to rule in the dispute with Mediapro over the price of football rights for the 2012-13 season.

Mediapro has urged Canal Plus to pay €100 million for the rights, an amount that Canal Plus refuses to pay. Both companies reached an agreement last year over the exploitation of rights to the three seasons from 2012-15.

Things are getting complicated with the arrival of Al Jazeera in the Spanish marketplace. Local reports suggest that the Qatari company would be interested in the acquisition of Mediapro. The president of Mediapro, Jaume Roures, has denied the reports, saying that the group “is not for sale”, although he recognised that the economic crisis is having a very negative impact on the group.

In any case, a possible deal with Mediapro would give Al Jazeera the access to key TV rights, including games from Real Madrid and Barcelona. Both companies already work together on an international scale with the distribution of football rights.

Mediapro produces and distributes sports as well as general entertainment content. Its sports rights arm has local rights to the main Spanish league as well as the Copa del Rey, Champions League and English Premier League competitions among others. It is also the local TV rights holder for Formula 1 and Euroleague Basketball.

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