Premier Sports has acquired exclusive linear and digital rights in the UK and Ireland to Spanish football’s LaLiga for 2019-20 to 2021-22, in a deal that will see the league launch its dedicated channel, LaLiga TV, in the two countries, effectively becoming Premier Sports’ third premium channel.
LaLigaTV will be available on the broadcaster’s Premier Player OTT service from October 18 and on the Sky linear platform in the UK by next January as part of the Premier Sports’ channel bundle, alongside Premier Sports 1 and 2. Laliga and Premier Sports have yet to decide when LaLigaTV will launch on the Virgin platform.
Premier Sports expects LaLiga TV to be available on the Sky platform in Ireland, but this is yet to be confirmed.
Viewers will also have the option to subscribe to LaLigaTV on a standalone basis for £5.99 per month or £49 per year once the channel launches on the Sky and Premier Player platforms. In comparison, the Premier Sports bundle on both Sky and the Premier Player costs £11.99 per month or £99 per year.
LaLiga confirmed to SportBusiness Media on Tuesday that once LaLiga TV is active on the Sky platform it will be the only way of watching LaLiga on pay-television in the UK and Ireland. However, Premier Sports’ digital terrestrial channel, FreeSports, will broadcast select match content as well as a weekly highlights show throughout the duration of the deal.
In the meantime, Premier Sports will broadcast LaLiga coverage on its two premium channels as well as its FreeSports channel. It will show the full slate of top-tier matches during the upcoming match-weeks four and five across Premier Sports 1 and 2 as well as one match non-exclusively each of those match-weeks on FreeSports.
From match-week 6 until LaLiga TV’s launch on the Sky platform, the number of live matches shown on Premier Sports will fall to a minimum of four during those weekends when the broadcaster is covering Pro14 rugby. The latter competition is on half of the weekends until end of 2019. Every match Premier Sports does not show live will be shown delayed. The broadcaster will show all LaLiga matches live when Pro14 rugby is not taking place, subject to UK blackout restrictions at 3pm on Saturdays.
Commercial establishments will be able to show LaLiga through their Sky TV box or through Premier Sports’ soon-to-be-launched Screach streaming solution.
LaLiga agreed the UK and Ireland deals with Premier Sports after the failure of its original rights tender in July.
Premier Sports was one of three broadcasters to hold LaLiga live rights in the UK and Ireland in the second half of the 2018-19 season, alongside OTT platform Eleven Sport and commercial broadcaster ITV (UK only).
Eleven initially agreed a three-season deal, from 2018-19 to 2020-21, with LaLiga last year, replacing the rights-holder’s previous long-term partner, pay-television broadcaster Sky.
But Eleven held contract renegotiations with LaLiga in December amid financial difficulties in its UK business.