IMG sells Strive football package to Bonnier, end of OTT platform in Sweden

The IMG agency has sold rights to Spain’s LaLiga, Italy’s Serie A and US Major League Soccer to media group Bonnier in Sweden, in a move that will end the operation of its OTT platform Strive in the country.

Bonnier’s deal starts this weekend, five months into the 2019 MLS season, before beginning its coverage of LaLiga and Serie A when each league kicks-off for the 2019-20 season. Its rights to both European league cover the next two seasons, whilst its rights to the MLS will run until 2022.

Strive will continue to broadcast the three leagues until the end of September, when its coverage will cease, and the OTT platform will no longer be available in Sweden. It will, however, continue to be available in Denmark and Norway.

In Denmark, IMG has sublicensed select rights to commercial broadcaster TV2, and in Norway the agency has a deal with IPTV platform Altibox to carry the Strive Sport channel on linear television.

After acquiring rights to LaLiga (across Scandinavia) and Serie A (internationally) last year, IMG struggled to secure a pan-regional deal for both and decided to take the step to launch its own OTT platform in the region – Strive. It has since added MLS rights to the offering. The agency holds international rights to MLS until 2022.

IMG’s with Bonnier does put into question the long-term future of Strive once the agency’s deals with both LaLiga and Serie A conclude at the end of the 2020-21 season.

Bonnier will broadcast each league on its C More sports channels and OTT service. The rights will help bolster the football portfolio that Bonnier has in Sweden, which from the end of the year when its domestic Allsvenskan coverage concludes, is limited to Uefa national team matches.