The market for Nordic TV sports rights has been dynamic all through 2020, with several major rights being out for tender, reports Mediavision. This week, ice hockey and the Bundesliga have been the centre of attention. Telia extended its rights to the major Swedish hockey league (SHL), and NENT extended its Nordic NHL ownership – in addition to securing the Polish rights to Bundesliga ahead of the 2021 launch of Viaplay in Poland.
Premium sport has unique leverage in attracting and retaining loyal subscriber bases. As competition is ramping up on the crowded Nordic market, so is the price tag for the most attractive sports assets. In Mediavision’s newly-released Sports Analysis 2020, it estimates that 30-50 per cent of the total Nordic pay-TV turnover (traditional + online) is directly related to sports. It is no exaggeration to say that premium sport is the single most critical asset for the local services in the battle over the Nordic subscribers.
Earlier this week, Telia/C More expanded rights up to the 2029/30 season for the Swedish top hockey league (SHL) – reportedly a contract worth up to SEK 5 billion (€0.5bn). Last week, NENT closed the deal for the pan-Nordic NHL rights until 2026 – shortly after the same company had signed the agreement for the pan-Nordic rights to the Ice Hockey World Championship to 2028.
Ice hockey is attracting high consumer interest, i.e., a significant driver for premium pay packages as well as ARPU. Close to 3 million in the Nordic countries have an explicit interest in watching ice hockey, making it the region’s second most popular sport. In Finland, hockey is outnumbering all other sports (a lower ranking in Denmark and Norway).
Looking specifically at NHL, Mediavision analysis shows the highest viewing interest in Finland but the pay grade (the percentage of those interested that also pay) is equal in both Finland and Sweden. In Sweden, the SHL outnumbers the NHL in both interest and absolute number of payers, but the leagues attains equal pay grades.
On November 10th, it was also announced that an agreement between Swedish SVT and Telia had been reached on an extended cooperation regarding the European Championship in football (2024-2028). The two have been collaborating before, sharing both the World Cup and European championship in football.