Croatian FA opts for 10-year streaming deal with Endorphin Magine

The Croatian Football Association (HNS) has finalised a 10-year broadcast rights and production deal with the UK-based company Endorphin Magine Ltd, a newly-created entity with links to Swedish OTT solutions company Magine Pro.

The HNS said that, following a public tender, it has now signed a contract with Endorphin.

Announcing the agreement, the HNS said: “Beginning with the 2022-23 competition season, Endorphin will take over the production and distribution of all matches in HNS’s portfolio – which includes men’s and women’s domestic club competitions (league and cup), all available futsal national team, youth national team and women’s national team matches, and non-centralised friendlies of the men’s senior national team.”

The agreement is worth an average of €10.3m ($12.1m) per year, according to reports in Croatia.

News of the proposal from Endorphin first emerged in June with reports that the proposal was for an initial seven seasons, with an optional three-season extension, and that marketing and sponsorship rights were also included.

In announcing an agreement with a company that will be unknown to Croatian fans, the HNS sought to play up Endorphin’s credentials.

The federation said: “The board at Endorphin have extensive knowledge and expertise in broadcast, and particularly sports broadcasting. President Gunnar Winbergh himself has been a board member of Magine Pro (one of the leading suppliers of OTT) since the beginning and has been involved in projects working with the likes of beIN [Sports], and most major sports rights available in Germany and Sweden through Magine’s work with the major broadcasters within these regions.

“In addition to its sporting interests, Magine Pro also works with major clients in the entertainment industry such as Flixole, PassionFlix, Sappa, and more.”

Telco Hrvatski Telekom renewed its media and sponsorship rights to Croatia’s top-tier league last year in a three-season deal, from 2019-20 to 2021-22. Matches are then produced and broadcast by Hrvatski Telekom’s exclusive production partner, pay-television broadcaster Arena Sport.

The HNS tendered rights from 2022-23 onwards on April 20 with a bid submission deadline of May 11. It informed top-tier clubs of the proposals and then went into direct negotiations.

News of the offer on the table from Endorphin was met with resistance in June from Hajduk Split, which opposed the 10-year duration and raised doubts about the bidder as the club sought to sell its own rights individually.

Hadjuk Split said: “The president of the management board Marin Brbić, as a representative of HNK Hajduk, requested full information on the bidder with the most generous bid in order to determine all the circumstances for making the best decision, which includes assessing the reliability and quality of business of a partner with such a long-term contract.

“Despite the request of president Brbić, HNS did not offer any information to confirm the creditworthiness or business references of the said bidder.”

The statement continued: “The current amount that clubs receive is miserable and below any level, the offered increase is just a correction of an anomaly from the previous contract, and the key problem remains the contract term of 10 years.

“It is an indisputable fact that the value of TV rights has jumped by 65 per cent globally in the last four years alone and this is the best indicator of how harmful it is for clubs to sign a contract for seven or 10 years.”

HNS president Davor Šuker said that the deal with Endorphin “reflects the growing international appeal of our competitions and is the start of a new era for Croatian football – which has experienced a real boom in recent years, both in terms of our excellent national teams and in terms of the performance of our clubs”.