Mediaset España has confirmed that it will offer live La Liga matches as part of its recently-launched Mitele Plus service from the start of the season this month. The broadcaster has agreed a deal with Telefonica to sublicense rights to all the games played in the first two tiers of the Spanish football league as well as all matches of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League.
The agreement involves three seasons of La Liga and two of the UEFA competitions, starting from August 2019 and ending in 2020/21. Telefonica is paying a total of €2.9 billion ($3.2 billion) for La Liga rights and is reported to be paying UEFA more than €3.1 billion ($3.4 billion) for the European competitions from 2018/19.
Mitele Plus, launched on 22 July, is available on mobile devices and computer browsers. A basic subscription costs €2.50 per month or €25 on an annual basis, with TV series content available advertising-free. Mitele also offers streams of all the free-to-air channels operated by Mediaset.
Mitele Plus' live football packages will be on the market for a monthly subscription of €19.99 for La Liga, €16.99 for the UEFA competitions or €36.98 for an all-inclusive package. Multi-users subscription plans have still to be announced but a comprehensive full package at the price of €30 is on offer for anyone signing up in August.
The financial terms of the sublicensing agreement have not been officially revealed, but it has been reported that Mediaset will pay Telefonica an amount close to €20 million per season that will treble if the platform reaches 270,000 subscriptions.
This agreement follows another sublicensing deal signed by Telefonica with Orange earlier this year. Orange agreed to sub-license La Liga and UEFA rights for an amount reportedly close to €100 million per year until the end of the 2020/21 season. Orange is distributed in Spain on IPTV and had more than 700,000 subscribers at the end of 2018.
The upcoming season (the first division of La Liga kicks off on 16 August) will bring changes in Spain's pay TV and online landscape. The balance of power in the sports market shifted to BeIn Sports when it held most of the domestic rights to La Liga in the three-year cycle beginning in 2016/17, but has moved back to Telefonica as the telco regained control of the league from 2019/20. The future position of BeIn Sports in the market is unclear as it has now also ceded UEFA rights to Telefonica.
Mediaset returns to live sport broadcasting having left the same market in Italy, where it was the second force of the market after Sky only 12 months ago. In the Italian market, this place had been taken by DAZN, which managed to acquire one-third of the Serie A games and is consolidating its position in Italy after a problematic launch at the beginning of the 2018/19 season.
DAZN’s entry into the Spanish market in February 2019 has stimulated competition for live sport rights in the local market. Mediaset has reacted to challenge the 'Netflix of sports' on its own ground: the digital platforms, and with the acquisition of these crucial assets has scored an important point to increase its subscriber base. According to local press reports, DAZN has not been able to agree a deal for la Liga rights with Telefonica.
Telefonica is compelled to sublicence its rights by the local competition authority, the Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC). This was, one of the conditions imposed by the competition watchdog when it cleared the merger of Telefonica and Canal Plus Espana, at the time owned by the Prisa group.