Cyta withholds final payment for Cypriot First Division rights

Cypriot telco Cyta has told the Cypriot First Division that it will not pay its third and final instalment for the 2019-20 season, resulting in the prospect of €2.2m ($2.37m) in lost revenue for a sextet of the league’s teams.

SportBusiness understands that no decision has been taken by the broadcaster to withhold payment from any other rights-holders at this time, though sources indicated that this would be subject to review should the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on sports across the world continue.

Cyta currently holds rights to the Cypriot Football Association package of rights to the Cypriot First Division until the end of the 2023-24 season which includes the rights home matches to six of the league’s 12 teams.

Cypriot First Division teams are free to negotiate rights with broadcasters individually though those who fail to secure a favourable deal have their rights packaged and sold by the Cypriot Football Association.

Cyta pays its contribution in three annual instalments which are paid in July, November and April.

Fellow Cypriot telcos PrimeTel and Cablenet hold the rights to the remaining teams, boasting the rights to two and four teams respectively. The broadcasters are thought to have also informed the clubs that they will not be receiving their rights fees which are paid on a monthly basis.

The Cypriot First Division was postponed until the end of March initially though that has now been extended for an indefinite period while the virus continues to ravage sporting schedules the world over.

As yet, Giorgos Koumas, president of the Cypriot Football Association, has not set a date for when the remainder of the season will recommence.

Cyta is a major rights-holder in the Cyprus market and also holds the rights to the Uefa Champions League (until 2020-21), the English Premier League (until 2021-22) and the Italian Serie A (until 2020-21).