By Constantinos Psillides
Telecommunications Authority (CyTA) and Lumiere Television (LTV) will be launching a new collaborative sports channel, hosting matches from the English Premier League, the Spanish League and the German Bundensliga, according to CyTA spokesman Lefteris Christou.
The new channel will be broadcast by the Cytavision platform and will go live on Saturday, March 8. The first game broadcast will be Chelsea versus Tottenham at 7.30 pm.
Asked whether CyTA would be charging subscribers extra for the new channel, Christou made clear that for the time being there will be no extra charge. “We are ironing out the details of the deal now. We haven’t decided yet on whether we will be charging extra but for the time being the channel will be made available to CyTA Vision subscribers with no extra fee,” said Christou.
The CyTA spokesman told the Cyprus Mail that the deal has been in the works since September 2013. “The first proposal was tabled around September but CyTA decided that it was not financially sound. A new and improved proposal was submitted a couple of months later, which was far more lucrative than the previous one. We have reached an agreement with LTV and the new channel will go on air shortly,” he said.
Asked whether this was the first step in a planned merger between the two broadcasters, Christou categorically denied it. The CyTA spokesman added that Cytavision would continue hosting LTV sport channels on their digital platform and that the new channel will take the place of LTV Sports Channel 2.
LTV owns the broadcasting rights to the Spanish, German and English league until 2016. CyTA has long been rumoured to be after the broadcasting rights, especially the Premier League.
The LTV-CyTA deal came to light after Nicosia football team APOEL announced on Friday that they were paid €670,000 by LTV, as part of a larger agreement regarding the team’s home games TV rights.
APOEL were on the verge of dissolving the deal due to the fact that LTV was seemingly unable to pay the required sum. A source inside CyTA, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Cyprus Mail that CyTA bailed-out LTV with €500,000 in exchange for broadcasting rights.
Asked to officially confirm the deal, the CyTA spokesman merely replied that “the only deal we have now is the one regarding the new sports channel”.
CyTA is also said to be interested in the broadcasting rights of APOEL, one of the largest teams in the island, for which LTV has the rights until 2016.