By Samindra Kunti
March 24 – The Italian agency MP & Silva is tendering the TV rights of the Belgian Pro League for the next three seasons. Fast developing broadcaster Eleven Sports is keen on acquiring the rights, a deal which would shake up the market for the league’s rights.
In 2014 MP & Silva bought the TV rights of the Belgian Pro League for six seasons. They have put out a tender for the second package of three seasons, starting another round of bids and negotiations. MP & Silva has promised the Pro League to deliver €80 million.
Ten candidates have expressed interest. “We are delighted with the interest,” said Pro League CEO Pierre Francois. The current package is worth €70 million.
Telenet, Proximus and Voo are the current broadcasters of the league, but Eleven Sports is also among the interested candidates. The network owns the TV rights of the Spanish, Italian and French leagues in Belgium, but is challenging the established networks for the Pro League rights in a bid to strengthen its market position. Italian businessman Andrea Radrizzani, who founded MP & Silva, also owns Eleven Sports. He also recently acquired Championship club Leeds United in England.
The number of match days and the kick-off times of matches will remain the same next season. Monday night football to facilitate clubs participating in European competitions won’t be introduced yet.
AA Gent had mooted the idea of Monday night games when they reached the quarter-finals of this season’s Europa League, but the proposal has received a lukewarm reaction so far. The Pro League were reluctant to favor Gent, and Genk, on the slightly dubious logic that Club Brugge did not have the benefit from Monday night football when they last played in the last eight of the Europa League.
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