Cyprus telecommunications and subscription television service companies Cyta, Primetel and Cablenet are in negotiations for the unification of football broadcasting rights and their subsequent availability on all three platforms.
The three companies are expected to finalise negotiations within the next 48 hours as they have progressed to an advanced stage of negotiations. The final text of the agreement has been agreed upon but is being checked once more by the companies’ legal departments. Barring the event of a last-minute request for an amendment to any section of the agreement, the deal is expected to be signed within the week.
According to information shared by Cypriot newspaper Phileleftheros, the discussion around the unification of football broadcast rights started on the basis of the Cypriot league, but then expanded to include the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A, German Bundesliga and the French Ligue 1. Champions League and Europa League rights were also added to further augment the range of available competitions. The goal is for any subscriber on any platform to be able to opt into one unified football package.
The presumption here is that while the three telecommunications companies competed on the exclusivity of the aforementioned broadcast rights, they can now compete on broadcast quality, other ancillary content, and the other services they offer as part of their telecommunications package deals.
As per the rumours and information surrounding the agreement, particular attention has gone into the finer details of the legality of the entire development so that antitrust and competition law issues aren’t encountered down the line.
The question is how will this be achieved and how consumers can be assured that any price-fixing isn’t taking place. Furthermore, it remains to be seen whether the formula with which the companies have reached a mooted price for their sports package will be disclosed to the public.
Finally, with all three companies collaborating in the broadcasting and dissemination of Cypriot football games, have they managed to achieve any economies of scale or other forms of cost-cutting? The deal can be a step towards the right direction for Cypriot consumers but we now wait for the full details to come out for further scrutiny and a more definitive take on this.