Two broadcasters will share the main TV rights for the screening of live UEFA Champions League matches in Denmark, Norway and Sweden in the period between 2003 and 2006, while coverage in the Republic of Ireland will also be shared.
UEFA announced today that TV3 and Viasat would share the rights in the three Scandinavian countries after an extensive bidding process, and a comprehensive evaluation by UEFA and its marketing partner, TEAM. The two broadcasters best satisfied the criteria of evaluation agreed with the European Commission.
Top four matches
This decision means that all matches throughout the season will be televised in all three countries, with the top four matches per week shown on free-to-air broadcaster TV3, and all other matches aired on the Viasat pay-TV channel.
The Irish television rights to the first four Champions League matches per week were awarded to a combination of TV3 (Ireland) and RTE. TV3 was awarded the rights to its choice of two matches on a Wednesday evening, to be broadcast live and immediately delayed, plus a highlights programme on Wednesday. RTE's Wednesday rights also include the final live.
'New and exctiting period'
Commenting on the decision, UEFA Chief Executive Gerhard Aigner said: "These are good deals for European football and for fans and viewers in Denmark, Norway and Sweden as well as in the Republic of Ireland. I offer my congratulations to everyone involved in the process. We look forward to a new and exciting period for the UEFA Champions League in Scandinavia and in the Republic of Ireland for clubs, supporters and broadcasters."
Strong interest has been shown by pay operators for the rights on pay television, but UEFA and TEAM have decided not to finalise any other arrangements at this stage to allow further negotiation with the interested parties. It is likely that the final structure will involve other packages of rights.
While UEFA has been concentrating initially on the EC/EEA countries subject to a formal tender process, rights to the Champions League between 2003 and 2006 will shortly be offered to the market in other countries where a considerable interest has already been shown. UEFA plans to offer the rights on a country-by-country basis, based on an offer document which will be made available to various interested parties by TEAM Marketing AG.
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