Eleven Sports rights problem

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UK-based global sports provider, which is disrupting the Portuguese sports pay-TV market, dominated since 1998 by SportTV, hit a hurdle over the last weekend as it became the first platform to broadcast a major football match in Portugal via Facebook.

However, the live stream of the French Super Cup stopped 20 minutes into the match. It turned out that the broadcast and the Eleven Sports page in Portugal were blocked by Facebook because it was not informed of the legality of the transmission by rights holders (Ligue 1).

The service plans to launch two premium channels in HD (with the possibility of adding another four) for €9.99 per month and an online streaming platform from August 15th.

Among the content available exclusively to Portuguese subscribers will be the UEFA Champions League, Spain’s LaLiga Santander, France’s Ligue 1, Belgian Jupiler Pro League, Scottish Ladbrokes Premiership, as well as the Bundesliga (from 2019).

Eleven Sports has signed a carriage deal for the two TV channels with Nowo, the smallest player on the local pay-TV market. In addition, Nowo has been entrusted with the task of representing Eleven Sports during negotiations with other Portuguese operators.

Speaking to daily Publico, Eleven Sports non-executive director Pedro Pinto revealed that Nowo was selected as the only “independent operator”, as NOS, Meo (Altice Portugal) and Vodafone Portugal are all shareholders of rival SportTV. He did not rule out the possibility of reaching a distribution agreement with the other operators.

Daily Jornal de Negocios, citing market sources, reported that Nowo has so far rejected bids submitted by the three operators. An agreement has been reached with national commercial broadcaster TVI for the transmission of one UEFA Champions League match per round of Portuguese clubs plus the final.

For its part, the executive president of SportTV, Nuno Ferreira Pires, told the Lusa news agency that “healthy competition” is good for the pay-TV sector in Portugal. He also pointed out that SportTV has 55,000 hours of content over a year, including the UEFA European League and Italy’s Serie A, compared to Eleven Sport’s 3,000 hours.


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