August 11, 2022
  • August 11, 2022

Viaplay in talks to acquire Premier Sports, report says

By on July 14, 2022 0
  • Viaplay hopes to strike a deal as early as this month
  • Premier Sports rights include LaLiga, Euro 2024 qualifiers, URC and Nascar
  • Viaplay is expected to launch in the UK in the second half of 2022

Nordic Entertainment Group’s (Nent) streaming service Viaplay is in talks to buy pay-TV network Premier Sports, according to Bloomberg.

Stockholm-based Viaplay is reportedly looking to strike a deal as soon as this month, with the platform aiming to nab more live sports rights ahead of its UK launch in the second half of 2022.

Broadcast across the UK and Ireland, Premier Sports’ live football rights include La Liga, Scottish Cup, as well as UEFA Nations League and Euro 2024 qualifiers. It broadcasts also the United Rugby Championship (URC), National Hockey League (NHL), Nascar Cup races and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) events.

The Premier Sports channel is available in the UK by subscription on Sky and Virgin platforms, as well as via Premier Player and Amazon Prime online services. Premier Sports claims it is available in over 16 million homes.

Viaplay announced in March that it would include live sports in its UK content line-up when it launched in the country, having initially billed the streaming platform as an entertainment proposition.

The service has since sealed exclusive UK rights to the 2024 and 2028 editions of the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship and the Champions Hockey League (CHL) from 2023/24 to 2027/28.

April also saw Viaplay add the NHL to its list of UK content. In addition, it will broadcast International Skating Union (ISU) figure and speed skating events from 2023-2028, European Handball Federation competitions from 2022-2030, and European Volleyball Confederation events ( CEV) from 2022 to 2026.

The World Athletics Continental Tour Gold series will also be available on Viaplay from 2023 to 2029 and the World Athletics Indoor Tour for 2024. The International Ski Federation (FIS) snowboard and freestyle events will be broadcast from 2022 to 2026, although these rights are not exclusive.

Its biggest acquisition to date saw Viaplay acquire exclusive domestic rights to broadcast over 800 matches from UEFA’s football competitions from 2024, including those involving Scotland’s men’s national teams, of Wales and Northern Ireland.

According to Bloomberg, while Viaplay is eager to strike a deal for Premier Sports, there is no certainty of a deal yet. He added that other suitors have shown interest in the network.

SportsPro says…

Viaplay is doubling down on its sports streaming rights ahead of its impending UK rollout. Buying Premier Sports would deepen its offering and bolster its sports credentials in a crowded market, which includes established players such as Sky Sports and BT Sport, as well as new entrants like Amazon Prime Video and DAZN.

Premier Sports would also give Viaplay a presence in the linear pay-TV space, providing a sort of safety net should consumers hesitate to sign up for its new streaming service.

Viaplay has yet to announce its UK pricing and launch date, but its impending entry will take the service’s footprint to 12 countries, with plans to be present in at least 16 markets by the end of 2023. Nent is targeting around 12 million Viaplay subscribers. in all territories by the end of 2025.