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Spanish operators stand firm over football rights

November 6, 2017

From David Del Valle in Madrid

The largest Spanish pay-TV operators – Telefónica, Orange and Vodafone – have rejected paying huge fees for the Champions League TV rights and will reportedly seek to negotiate downwards the renewal of the contracts with Mediapro, owner of the rights, next year.

The operators are finding it difficult to make football rights profitable at the current prices. They estimate that they would need to charge subscribers more than €50 a month – a somewhat impossible mission.

Mediapro has secured this year for €1.1 billion for three seasons beginning 2018/19 and would like to reduce it significantly.

Thus, Movistar already pays around €1.050 million a season for all the football with the Partizado big match channel and Champions League, that is to say €87.5 million a month. To break even, Movistar would have to charge its 3.7 million subscribers €23.60 a month, including July and August when there is no football.

Vodafone España would have to charge its 1.28 million subscribers some €20 a month to make profitable its investment of €318 million for sports rights. A similar amount would be the case for Orange, with only 600,000 subscribers.

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