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Finnish ice hockey league wants long-term rights deals

The SM Liiga, Finland’s top-tier ice hockey competition, said that it was interested in signing only long-term domestic rights deals beyond its current contract, which ends next season.

The league invited expressions of interest for the rights from 2013-14 in February. Bids must be submitted by the middle of this month, according to the Helsingin Sanomat website.

“A contract for only a couple of years would be too short for both parties [league and broadcaster] to reap any real benefits,” Jarmo Koskinen, the league’s director of marketing and communications, said.

“The decision [to award the rights] will be based on the whole package,” he added. “Money is just one of the contributing factors.”

Under the terms of the current contract, pay-television broadcaster Urho shows regular-season games and commercial broadcaster Nelonen shows post-season matches and finals. The four-year agreements, from 2009-10 to 2012-13, have one year to run. The rights are reportedly worth a total of €10 million ($13.4 million) per year.

Nelonen is expected to bid to renew its rights but an offer from Urho is said to be more doubtful due to a lack of finance. Commercial broadcaster MTV and pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus are also expected to bid for the rights.

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