Croatia’s HRT picks up Euro 2020 rights in United Group sublicense

Croatian public-service broadcaster HRT will cover next summer’s Uefa European Championships after striking a sublicensing deal with United Group, the rights-holder in the Balkan region.

HRT said it reached the agreement following months of negotiations. The broadcaster will show all 51 matches during the national team football tournament.

HRT programme director Renato Kunić moved to clarify that public investment in the broadcaster’s services would not be jeopardised by the agreement, and that programme obligations outlined in HRT’s contract with the government would “in no way be called into question”.

Last year, HRT lost the rights to broadcast Croatian national team matches when commercial network Nova TV sublicensed rights from United Group, which owns pay-television broadcaster Sportklub.

In 2017, Sportklub acquired Uefa national team rights in the Balkans (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia). Under Nova TV’s deal with Sportklub, the former will air Uefa European Qualifier matches of the Croatian national team, both home and away, for four seasons, from 2018-19 to 2021-22, along with Euro 2020.

United Group later struck sublicensing deals with commercial broadcaster Pink BH in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenian public-service broadcaster RTV Slovenija.

Euro 2020 will take place from June 12 to July 12 across 12 different countries. Croatia, which finished second at last year’s Fifa World Cup in Russia, has already qualified for Euro 2020.

New channel

United Group will be launching a new dedicated sports channel called Nova Sports on December 4 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia. The channel will broadcast content from several premium properties that United Group has access to through its ownership of Sportklub, such as the Uefa Nations League, top-tier football leagues from England and Spain, and basketball’s EuroLeague.

Sportklub acquired rights to English Premier League (from 2019-20 to 2021-22), Spain’s LaLiga (from 2018-19 to 2020-21) and EuroLeague (from 2019-20 to 2022-23) from the IMG agency in three separate agreements. All rights have been exclusively broadcast on Sportklub since the beginning of each contract.