Mail.ru retains LaLiga, Serie A streaming in new Telesport deal

Russian social media platforms VK and Odnoklassniki, owned by Russian internet company Mail.ru, will continue to stream matches from Spain’s LaLiga and Italy’s Serie A after agreeing a rights deal with the Telesport agency.

Mail.ru is streaming a total of 760 matches across the two leagues during the 2020-21 season with the free-to-view coverage also available on the Watch Mail.ru and Sport Mail.ru platforms.

Mail.ru said that it has agreed to acquire the rights from Telesport to broadcast the leagues in full.

Marina Krasnova, director of Mail.ru Group’s video platforms, said that last season’s LaLiga and Serie A streaming on VK and Odnoklassniki garnered more than 450 million views.

Telesport has retained the rights to stream the matches on its own website, using Mail.ru’s player.

In previous seasons, the agency agreed to simulcast its coverage on VK and Odnoklassniki but retained the advertising and sponsorship revenue.

However, the deal for the 2020-21 season will allow Mail.ru to sell advertising and sponsorship around the coverage, reports Russia’s Kommersant.

A package of 42 LaLiga matches has also been sublicensed to state-backed sports broadcaster Match TV, a sports rights source told the newspaper. Telesport also sublicensed rights to Match TV last season. Match was the incumbent LaLiga broadcaster prior to Telesport, having held the rights up until the 2015-16 season.

The agency acquired LaLiga’s exclusive live, delayed, highlights and clips rights in Russia across all platforms for the five seasons from 2021-22 to 2025-26.

The Mediapro agency launched an invitation to tender in Russia in June with first-round bids due on July 9.

The five-year deal with Telesport is among a string of deals struck by Mediapro in Europe for the extended contract term. This came after LaLiga was given authorisation to sell future broadcast rights in Europe for more than three seasons in amends made to the Royal Decree that governs the sale of centralised rights.