Polsat regains CEV club rights in Infront’s first major deal

Polish pay-television broadcaster Polsat has regained rights to the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV) Champions League from 2020-21, signing a new deal with the governing body and its distribution agent Infront.

The five-season deal, from 2020-21 to 2024-25, includes the exclusive rights to the CEV Champions League Volley, CEV Volleyball Cup and CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup.

This follows two seasons, covering 2018-19 and 2019-20, in which the CEV club competitions were broadcast by rival pay-television broadcaster Platforma Canal Plus. That deal was for exclusive rights to both men’s and women’s competitions.

The deal is the first key agreement since the Wanda Sports-owned Infront agency agreed a 12-year global media-rights and production agreement, from 2020 to 2032, for both club and national team events with the CEV, understood to be worth €106m ($126m).

Previously CEV club competition media rights were sold by sports data and content agency Sportradar. In 2007, the CEV originally secured a rights distribution deal with the Sportsman Media Group, the agency subsequently acquired by Sportradar in 2016.

Infront distributed media rights for the CEV’s national team events. The agency brokered the rights deal with Polsat for the men’s European Championships in 2019.

Stanisław Janowski, president of the board at Polsat said: “I am glad that the best European club volleyball is back on Polsat. Polsat is a great friend of volleyball and its fans in Poland and I can assure them that over the next five seasons we will show the best matches in the highest quality and technology.”

Aleksandar Boričić, CEV president, said: “Poland has been one of the best promoters of our sport through its incredible fans, a reliable and stable volleyball ecosystem and continuous competitiveness of its representatives in our competitions.”

There will be five Polish teams playing across the three club competitions in 2020-21, with the potential for two to join, if they win progress through the preliminary qualifying rounds.

Polsat also holds rights to International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) events, including; the Volleyball Nations League, the Volleyball Challenger Cup, qualification tournaments for the 2020 and 2024 summer Olympic Games, the 2022 World Championships, and the 2019 and 2023 editions of the Volleyball World Cup.

The €106m value of the Infront deal represents an average of €8.8m per year in “guaranteed payments and the provision of comprehensive media, production and digital services” the agency.

Following the ratification of the deal, the ACPV, the European clubs body, challenged various aspects of the agreement, including the lengthy contract duration and also the manner in which the commercial dealings at the CEV were being made, as exclusively reported by SportBusiness.

According to details presented to attendees at the CEV general assembly earlier this year, the €106m is broken down as follows:

  • €70m in cash payments
  • €27m in production and digital value-in-kind services provided by Infront
  • €9m ascribed to the Infront volleyball team cost and coverage