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FREE | Nordics market report, 2020

In the latest interactive monthly data report, SportBusiness Media analyses the media-rights landscape in the Nordic region, consisting of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.

Further detail on the deals covered in this interactive data report is available with our Rights Tracker tool – click here for more information.

Profitable market

The Nordics has been one of the most active territories in 2020 in terms of the number of rights-holders approaching the market to seal new deals. Five out of the top ten international properties were able to secure significant increases in new media deals. The average increase for these deals is about 72 per cent.

Rights in the region are sold either collectively or on a market-by-market basis.

Soccer dominates the Nordics media-rights landscape with eight out of the top ten properties. Winter sports are also extremely valuable, together with handball and motorsports.

Pan-Nordic broadcaster Nordic Entertainment (Nent) Group is the market leader in 2020, with a total of about 37 properties and about €285m ($336.3m) per season invested in securing most of the top properties in the region, including the English Premier League, Uefa Champions League, Formula 1 and Germany’s Bundesliga.

Other players in the market include Discovery-owned pay-television broadcaster Eurosport, the Telia-owned Bonnier broadcasters (TV4, MTV3 and CMore), commercial and pay-television broadcaster TV2 Norway and government-owned broadcaster TV2 Denmark.

Top international properties

The top European football leagues are amongst the most valuable properties in the region.

Nent and TV2 Norway currently hold rights to the English Premier League from 2019-20 to 2021-22. Nent holds Premier League rights in Denmark, Finland and Sweden through three separate deals. Rights in Norway are held by TV2 over the same three seasons while rights in Iceland are held by telco Síminn over the same three seasons.

In February this year, Nent secured exclusive rights from 2022-23 to 2027-28, across the whole region (excluding Iceland).

Spain’s LaLiga media-rights in the region are currently held in a three-season deal by the IMG agency, from 2018-19 to 2020-21. The agency began the current LaLiga cycle by launching its own OTT service after broadcasters failed to meet its valuation of the rights. However, it later decided to sublicense rights to local broadcasters.

In June this year, LaLiga’s international distributor Mediapro agreed three separate five-season agreements, from 2021-22 to 2025-26, in the Nordics (excluding Iceland): in Finland and Sweden with Telia; in Norway with TV2; and in Denmark with TV2.

Nent and Icelandic free-to-air broadcaster SportTV currently hold rights to Germany’s Bundesliga in two deals from 2018-19 to 2020-21. Earlier in 2020, Nent agreed to a new four-season deal, from 2021-22 to 2024-25, for exclusive rights in the region (including Iceland) to all Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga matches.

Uefa Champions League and Europa League rights are also extremely valuable in the Nordics.

In May this year, European football’s governing body secured a 113-per-cent uplift in new deals in the 2021-24 cycle, and agreed to deals for its club competition rights in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Uefa and its sales agent Team Marketing have still to sell club competition rights in Iceland.

Two non-soccer properties in the Nordics’ top 10 most valuable international properties are Formula 1 and the International Ice Hockey World Championship.

For F1, Nent holds rights in Denmark, Norway and Sweden in a three-season deal from 2019 to 2021. In Finland, MTV3 holds rights in the same cycle while media company Sýn holds rights in Iceland.

In March this year, Nent agreed to a new three-year deal, from 2022 to 2024 for rights across the five markets.

The Nordics is the most valuable market for the International Ice Hockey World Championship. In the current cycle, global IIHF distributor the Infront agency agreed to multiple deals in the region with the region’s public-service broadcasters, Nent and TV2 Denmark. In 2019, Nent agreed to a deal that will increase the value of IIHF rights across the Nordics, from 2024 to 2028, by about 34-per-cent.

Click on each property logo to filter historical media-rights value information.

Nordic properties

Domestic properties also generate significant revenue in the Nordics.

The most valuable Nordic property is the Danish Superliga. In its current domestic rights cycle, Discovery and Nent hold rights to the Danish top-tier soccer competition in two six-season deals, from 2015-16 to 2020-21. Both broadcasters have already agreed three seasons renewals until 2023-24.

The second-most valuable Nordic property is the Swedish Hockey League. In its current domestic rights cycle, Telia-owned pay-television broadcaster CMore holds rights to the top-tier ice hockey competition in a six-season deal. The deal, from 2018-19 to 2023-24, is almost double the value of the league’s previous four-season deal, from 2014-15 to 2017-18.

Another key domestic agreement is the Swedish Allsvenskan, the country’s top-tier soccer league. It has a six-year deal with Discovery, from 2020 to 2025. The deal represents a 140-per-cent increase on its previous deal with Bonnier.

Click on each property logo to filter historical media-rights value information.

Market actors

The Nordic market experienced notable changes last year, primarily with the completion of telco Telia’s SEK 9.2bn (€872m/$968m) acquisition of Bonnier Broadcasting.

It is thought Bonnier’s rights acquisition strategy in the last two years has been hindered by the negotiations, which had been ongoing since July 2018. Telia’s acquisition of Champions League rights in Sweden and Finland represented its first major sports rights acquisition since its takeover of Bonnier.

Whilst the Bonnier negotiations were ongoing, Nent continued to push for more exclusive rights, which was thought to be a move to boost the asset value of the company ahead of its listing on the stock exchange. The broadcaster began trading its shares on Nasdaq Stockholm in 2019.

TV2 Norway was one of the most affected broadcasters by Nent’s aggressive strategy. Premier League rights in Norway are the most important in the country, and from 2022-23, these rights will be held by Nent not TV2, representing a major blow for the Norwegian broadcaster. TV2 does currently hold rights to the Champions League (through a sublicensing deal with Nent), as well as Uefa Europa League and Norwegian national team football matches.

Similarly, Discovery was also impacted by other broadcasters’ acquisitions. The first major blow was Nent’s acquisition of a package of Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS) events, from 2021-22 to 2025-26. While skiing had been traditionally shown by the region’s public-service broadcasters, Eurosport has pan-European agreements with Infront for the rights to FIS events, from 2016-17 to 2020-21.

Secondly, losing out on all Uefa club competition rights in the 2021-24 cycle was another blow to Discovery. It was keen to acquire content to alternate in the winter with its strong domestic soccer portfolio. Discovery owns rights to the Danish Superliga, the Swedish Allsvenskan and the Norwegian Eliteserien, which all play from Spring to Autumn.

Click on each broadcast logo to filter the media-rights portfolio.

Most recent

Tech giant Amazon’s acquisition of UK rights to the Autumn Nations Cup competition has triggered a debate over whether the company will now embark upon a concerted push into rugby.

The surprise emergence of free-to-air broadcaster KBS as a bidder for German Bundesliga rights in South Korea generated some competition during the 2020-22 sales process, but not enough to stave off a dip in value.

Chinese internet giant Tencent picked up the English Premier League rights for the 2020-21 season at a massive discount compared to the value of the terminated deal with previous rights-holder PPTV.

European Handball Federation club competition rights have decreased in value in several key markets, with incumbents dropping out to leave tough market conditions for seller Infront.