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Rights-holders left homeless in Middle East after OSN culls sports channels

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 10: Yair Rodríguez celebrates his win over Chan Sung Jung in their Featherweight bout during the UFC Fight Night 139 at the Pepsi Center on November 10, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

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Russian internet company Yandex will look to expand its sports-rights portfolio after acquiring exclusive rights to the National Hockey League in Russia amid fierce competition.

Italian public broadcaster Rai acquired the exclusive rights to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan at a two-thirds reduction in value from the previous edition after a long stand-off between the company’s internal departments.

Pay-television broadcaster Nova has taken advantage of a sharp reduction in sports rights funding at Greek public broadcaster ERT, following a snap election earlier this year, to acquire a pair of key properties and become Greek top-tier football’s main broadcast partner.  

The IMG agency has sealed a deal for rights to Spain’s LaLiga, Italy’s Serie A and the US’ Major League Soccer in Sweden with media group Bonnier. The deal signals the end of its OTT experiment in the country as it had previously been broadcasting the properties on its Strive streaming platform.