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Dutch broadcaster NOS lands ISU competition rights in the Netherlands

Dutch public broadcaster NOS has acquired the rights to International Skating Union (ISU) events in the Netherlands from the 2019-20 season until 2022-23.

The four-season deal, agreed with the Infront agency, includes live rights to all ISU Speed Skating Championships, ISU Short Track Speed Skating Championships and World Cups in addition to highlight rights for all ISU Figure Skating events.

The Netherlands have traditionally been a strong market for speed skating thanks to the popularity of the sport in the country and the national team’s strong performances in international events. Such is the interest, commercial broadcaster Talpa TV (formerly SBS Broadcasting) tried to acquire the ISU rights directly for the 2015-16 to 2018-19 period. Free-to-air broadcaster NOS was understood to have increased its contribution to a European Broadcasting Union (EBU) bid in that cycle to see off the competition.

Infront acquired the ISU’s global media rights from 2019-22 to 2022-23 as part of a strategy to dominate the winter sports market. The agency is believed to have paid a 25 per cent increase on the value paid by the EBU in the preceding cycle to consolidate its position.

As part of the deal, Infront agreed to allow the ISU to exploit the rights to selected events on its own digital platforms. SportBusiness understands Infront carved out some digital rights for ISU in the NOS deal although it isn’t clear what content or events this pertains to.

Bruno Marty, Infront’s senior vice-president spectator sports media & marketing: “This marks another milestone in our mission to maximise media exposure of ISU’s properties. The Netherlands is a key market for the ISU and with NOS signed up as a long-standing partner, more fans than ever will be able to follow these thrilling Olympic sports on free-TV.”

Jan Dijkema, ISU president said: “Given the huge popularity of speed skating in the Netherlands and the ISU’s long-standing relationship with NOS, we are pleased to see Infront secure this important agreement. It guarantees that the ISU events remain available on free-to-air TV, leveraging the high-quality standard and production that NOS offers.”

NOS will also offer viewers in the Netherlands coverage of the following ISU events:

• ISU Speed Skating Championships
• ISU World Cup Speed Skating series (excluding events being held in the Netherlands)
• ISU Four Continents Speed Skating Championships
• ISU Short Track Speed Skating Championships
• ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating series (excluding events being held in the Netherlands)
• ISU Figure Skating Championships
• ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series
• ISU World Synchronised Skating Championships.

Read this: Infront increases its dominance over winter sports with ISU deal