Spanish media group, Mediapro, holder of the TV rights to the Champions League and the Europa League in Spain through beIN Sports, has launched the auction process for these TV rights for the next three seasons, 2018/19, 2020/21 and 2021/22.
Mediapro will send the operators bidding conditions for the rights, which the media company acquired for €1.1 billion, next week. Operators will have a month to submit their offers.
Both Telefónica and Vodafone have refused to bid for the rights unless Mediapro significantly reduces the price for them.
OTT players such as Amazon Prime, Google or Netflix could also participate in the auction. Mediapro may even be consider distributing them through its OTT platform beIN Connect.
The TV rights battle is set to continue with the auction of LaLiga rights in Spring for the next three seasons. La Liga is seeking to increase the price up to 30 per cent to raise €1.3 billion a year. In the last auction in 2015, Movistar paid €750 million for a three-year period for the main football match every week and Mediapro paid €1.9 billion for the other eight pay-TV matches for three years.
For current operators, football TV rights have become a burden as they cannot make a profit. In Spain, there are 3 million subscribers to football, half the total pay-TV market, of which 400,000 are attributed to Vodafone and Orange and the rest to Movistar. Operators estimate that they should charge each subscriber €60 a month to cover all costs when they are receiving €20 a month on average.