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PAOK to stream first Super League game on PPV as no rights deal in place

Greek Super League football club PAOK will stream its first match of the forthcoming season on the club’s OTT platform, as it enters the 2019-20 campaign without a TV rights deal in place.

The match against Panatolikos will cost €4.99 ($5.50) for viewers on tv.paokfc.gr.

PAOK finds itself without a deal in place with the new league season starting in less than 72 hours, while there are doubts over the terms of an agreement with five other clubs: Aris, Atromitos, Lamia, Panetolikos and Xanthi.

The five clubs were understood to have a preliminary agreement in place with state broadcaster ERT. It was reported in the local media that ERT had tried to reduce the previously agreed fee by nearly half.

ERT was thought to have submitted the reduction demand in late July, before making a second demand to reduce the value by 30 per cent in early August. Both bids were rejected outright.

The Super League board met yesterday (Tuesday) and stressed that there is no intention to accept reductions in the five clubs’ ERT contract. The league has insisted that there will be no delays to the new league season.

In a strongly-worded statement to accompany the news of its OTT intentions, PAOK said: “In an era where technology continues to make huge leaps forward and is shaping a new digital landscape, PAOK has decided to be a pioneer and define the future on its own terms.

“We prefer to see the potential instead of the risk, to move away from old business models which lead to bankruptcy, to shape our tomorrow based on the strength of our supporters, and to offer services of the highest quality to our own fans, as well as lovers of football everywhere. The future is here.”

PAOK is understood to have rejected an offer from pay-TV broadcaster Nova for the exclusive rights to its home matches. Nova is thought to have submitted an offer 50 per cent larger than its previous agreement with PAOK, which sources have said PAOK still considers “humiliating.”

PAOK’s agreement with Nova covering the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons was understood to be worth around €2.5m per season. PAOK was the only side excluded from Nova’s collective rights agreement that expired at the end of last season (and with rights now sold by each club).

Nova has already extended its deals with Volos and Panionios this summer.

The Greek Super League has also awarded the Forthnet-owned Nova the host broadcast contract for the first round of Super League matches. Nova is the incumbent production partner for the league, having been chosen ahead of ERT. The Greek Super League has operated with a minimum six-camera production for matches.