Sport TV offers free-to-air Primeira Liga coverage

Pay-television broadcaster Sport TV has responded to the nation’s coronavirus precautions by announcing that it will broadcast matchdays 25 and 26 in the top-tier Primeira Liga on its free-to-air Sport TV+ channel.

The Portuguese government mirrored similar measures taken across Europe to ban mass gatherings which means matches in the country’s top division of professional football will be played behind-closed-doors.

The matches will be available to all subscribers with a basic-tier package on Portuguese operators such as MEO, NOS and Vodafone. Sport TV+ is available in over 92% of Portuguese homes.

The broadcaster also said that it will, “together with the national operators MEO, NOS and Vodafone which distribute its channels, offer the monthly value of its channels to all subscribers, during the exceptional period of suspension of most sports competitions.”

Broadcast rights deals are negotiated on a club-by-club basis in Portugal and not sold centrally by the LPFP, the professional league body.

Sport TV holds the rights to 17 of the Primeira Liga’s 18 teams and broadcasts a minimum of six matches per match day. The pay-television broadcaster is showing eight matches from the Portuguese top tier this weekend.

Benfica is the only team not to hold a deal with Sport TV and its home matches are broadcast instead on the club-owned Benfica TV channel.

Sport TV’s move echoes similar steps taken by other broadcasters such as Sky Deutschland which will this weekend broadcast the simultaneous ‘Konferenz’ coverage of Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga matches on its free-to-air Sky Sport News HD channel.

In September, Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) chief executive Tiago Craveiro criticised the lack of live free-to-air coverage of the country’s top flight, describing the blanket coverage on pay television as a “mistake”.

Fellow pay-television broadcaster Eleven Sports has also announced that it will not charge current or new subscribers for its six linear channels and access to its OTT platform “for the coming month”. This applies to its monthly, annual and motorsports subscription packages.