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Eredivisie confirm five-year extension for ESPN

There were four parties in contention for Eredivisie media rights

Dutch soccer's top-tier Eredivisie has finalized a long-term domestic media rights renewal with Disney-owned international sports broadcaster ESPN until 2030. The extension, worth a total of €750 million ($805.7 million) over the next five years, was announced by Eredivisie Media & Marketing (EMM), a joint venture between the Walt Disney Company, Eredivisie, and the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB).

ESPN’s existing deal was set to expire at the end of the 2024-25 season. The network has been broadcasting for the Eredivisie since 2013 after an initial deal struck in 2012. An extension seemed inevitable after all 18 top-flight clubs voted unanimously to support its continuation in October.

During negotiations, an advisory committee composed of six Eredivisie clubs including Feyenoord, PSV Eindhoven, Ajax as well as RKC Waalwijk, Vitesse Arnhem and AZ Alkmaar provided guidance.

ESPN will air Eerste Divisie and Women's Eredivisie matches as well

The new agreement will see expanded coverage from ESPN for Dutch soccer fans. More live matches from both Eerste Divisie - Dutch soccer’s second-tier league - and Women's Eredivisie will be broadcasted under this deal.

Most Eerste Divisie matches will be aired while all women's games are set to be shown live every matchday on ESPN’s linear channels or via their streaming platform - ESPN Watch.

Moreover, exclusive coverage of KNVB Cup competition matches along with Johan Cruyff Shield matches (Dutch Super Cup) and Netherlands Under-21 national team games will continue on ESPN for several more years.

The renewed media rights tie-up is expected to bring "substantial" revenue increases for clubs involved in all competitions. Additionally, Eredivisie will take over the league’s sponsorship rights and international media rights from EMM under the new agreement.

ESPN’s renewal deal was filled with a lot of controversies

Dutch telecommunications firms VodafoneZiggo, Delta, KPN, and T-Mobile have withdrawn their complaint over ESPN’s renewed rights deal. In October, these companies complained to the country’s Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) claiming that they were unable to negotiate for the rights themselves due to a lack of transparency and fairness in the bidding process.

Jan de Jong, Eredivisie chief executive, said:

“ESPN is a reliable, credible, and triple-A media partner for us, and more importantly, for the viewers. Moreover, we reach the largest possible audience. More than 90% of the Dutch households can tune in to us.

“It's a unique setup, a joint venture, unparalleled in Europe. And to top it off, it's with the Walt Disney Company. That speaks volumes. In addition, Eredivisie CV gains significant commercial freedoms for the future. The financial guarantees are solid, the compensations are considerably higher than before, and we have many opportunities to further increase the value and consequently the revenues. In short, it is a comprehensive package to which all 18 Eredivisie clubs unanimously said 'yes'.”

Despite suggesting an offer worth a minimum of €180 million per year for live rights - more than what ESPN's renewed tie-up grants - their attempts to contact Eredivisie were ignored.

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