Viaplay targeting EFL TV rights in the UK

Akash Roy 2 months ago

Nordic streaming service set to challenge Sky Sports for domestic Football League rights

Viaplay are reportedly looking to bid for broadcast rights to the English Football League (EFL). The streaming giant has already made considerable waves by buying up rights packages left and right across Europe and is now said to be eyeing up the EFL.

Current rights holder Sky Sports will face fresh competition from the Nordic-based company for the next rights cycle, which will affect the 2024/25 season and on.

Viaplay, owned by NENT, already won the domestic broadcast rights to European and World Cup qualifiers for home nations Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland earlier this year, but failed to secure live rights for England.

Subscribers to the online platform currently pay £14.99 a month to access its content, and this price could potentially increase with the acquisition of the rights to the EFL Championship, League One and League Two.

Any successful bid from Viaplay would mean a huge shake up in the British football rights space, with Sky Sports having held the rights to EFL matches for a very long time.

Trouble in paradise for Viaplay

However, there are no guarantees that Viaplay will be able to outbid the linear TV giant, and a report by research service Enders Analysis has suggested that things aren't all rosy for the streamer, stating that "the UK is the latest territory in an ongoing aggressive international deployment that has driven Viaplay into loss”.

Viaplay is losing money through its rapid expansion, not only on the UK market but elsewhere, and it's stock price has fallen in recent months. According to Enders, “The problem is that this growth is achieved alongside massive content spend” with the Premier League deals in other European countries “to blame for the company’s slide into the red”.

It has been reported that Viaplay expected to take on more new subscribers with its acquisitions of various rights packages, and currently the outgoings spent on winning bids are not being covered by new sign-ups.

The EFL, like many leagues around the world, is looking to capitalise on the ever-growing global popularity of football in order to increase the value of its broadcast rights. To do so, it is reportedly considering the possibility of ending the infamous "3pm blackout".

Premier League hope to close £30m NFT deal

In other news, the Premier League is set to go ahead with a £30m a year deal to create NFTs. This is despite news that its partner in the project, French digital company Sorare, is currently under investigation by the Gambling Commission.

The commission stated last year that it was "carrying out inquiries" related to whether or not Sorare need a gambling license in order to operate the way they do.

The saga rumbles on, but by all accounts the Premier League are keen to move along with this NFT project.

Stick around for more football business news, including stories about broadcast rights, technology, finance and more.

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