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Orange and Vodafone pick up LaLiga rights as TVE nets highlights

Telcos Orange and Vodafone have become the first two operators in the Spanish market to sublicense LaLiga content in the 2015-16 season from rival firm Telefónica, while public-service broadcaster TVE has agreed a deal for highlights rights.

Telefónica paid €600m ($660m) earlier this month for domestic pay-television rights in 2015-16. However, under the terms of Telefónica’s acquisition of pay-television platform Canal Plus earlier this year, premium content had to be made available to other operators.

Telefónica became the dominant pay-television operator in Spain following its acquisition of Canal Plus; a deal that was approved in April. Telefónica secured a 100-per-cent shareholding in Canal Plus in July 2014, buying Mediaset España’s 22-per-cent stake for €295m. It had acquired Prisa’s 56-per-cent stake for €750m in May that year, raising its interest to 78 per cent.

Under the terms of the takeover, Telefónica had to make its ‘premium’ channels – defined as those carrying top sport or major new films – available to competitors as a wholesale package.

Telefónica’s agreement granted it the exclusive rights to the top two divisions of Spanish football, LaLiga and the Segunda División, along with all pay-television rights for Copa del Rey matches.

Orange and Vodafone have said they will offer all matches from LaLiga and the Copa del Rey in 2015-16 through their self-titled pay-television platforms. Orange will charge €9.95 per month for access, while Vodafone has yet to disclose the pricing of its package.

In other news, LaLiga has awarded the exclusive free-to-air highlights package for games from the top division of Spanish football and the Copa del Rey for 2015-16 to TVE. The ‘Lot 3’ rights package was also contested by commercial broadcasters Atresmedia and Mediaset, along with the Forta group of regional public-service broadcasters in Spain.