Mediaset has signed a distribution agreement with Eurosport for terrestrial pay TV platform Mediaset Premium to carry Eurosport 1 and Eurosport 2. Feeds for both channels will be in Italian language and operate in standard definition. The launch date is expected to be sometime during autumn. Although the core of Mediaset Premium's offer remains Italy's Serie A soccer, Eurosport boosts sports coverage on the platform with a range of more niche sports like tennis, cycling, handball, basketball, hockey, swimming and motorsports.
Mediaset Premium is Italy's second largest pay TV operator with a reach of 3.29m homes. It recently secured a deal with Fox International Channels in order to carry Fox Sports, owned by its main competitor, Rupert Murdoch. Fox has invested heavily in football rights and offers access to UK Premier League, FA Cup, Spanish La Liga as well as French Ligue 1 games. Deal between the two represented something of a thawing of relations between Murdoch and Italian media baron Silvio Burlesconi, who have been arch rivals for years.
Eurosport 1 has 20 different language feeds. It operates in 54 countries reaching 130m homes. On the other hand, Eurosport 2, one of the fastest growing sports channels in Europe has 18 language feeds and reaches 63m households in 51 countries.
Mediaset continues to face strong competition from Italy's leading pay TV operator, Sky Italia, and both have been struggling to maintain customers in the challenging Italian economy. Sport remains a key driver of pay TV in Italy. All of the Mediaset sports channels (Premium Calcio, Fox Sports and Eurosport 1 & 2) will be available in a bundled package at the price of €24 a month. We estimate that approximately 1.65m customers currently taking the sport tier.