Spring Media lauds ‘fast growing’ Belgian league after new international TV deals

The Spring Media agency has described Belgium’s Pro League as “one of the fastest growing football leagues on the planet” after helping to facilitate deals with broadcasters in Italy, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, India, South Korea and the Middle East and North Africa.

The Stockholm-based agency was brought on board at the start of the year to help develop the competition’s international distribution after the collapse of previous rights seller MP & Silva.

Since coming on board, Spring Media has brokered agreements in Europe with Italy’s Sportitalia, Germany’s Sport1, Russia’s Match TV and Ukraine’s Football Channel. The league also enjoys exposure in Germany on Sportdigital Fussball after the subscription broadcaster secured sub-licensed rights from Sport1.

In South Korea, a deal was struck with Eclat Entertainment, the media group that owns pay-TV broadcaster SpoTV.

Spring Media is understood to be in the final stage of contractual sign off with the broadcasters in the other territories mentioned. The agency was announced as the league’s new distribution partner in January in an agreement covering the remainder of the 2018-19 season and the full 2019-20 campaign.

Along with awarding the league the title of “one of the fastest growing” worldwide, José Moreno, a partner at Spring Media, said: “The quality of Belgian football is on the rise and we are very proud to be offering such a developed product on the international market.”

He added: “We have proven to have a unique global reach, successfully bringing deals to the Jupiler Pro League from new and key markets.”

Pierre François, the league’s chief executive, said that the competition has developed over the last couple of years to become “one of the more prominent leagues in Europe” and that the next step is to “gain international expansion”.

Broadcasters of the league who were already on board when Spring Media was appointed include Arena Sport in the Balkans, S Sport in Turkey and Viasat in the Nordic countries.
Spring Media is not able to sell the international betting rights given the IMG agency already holds that contract.

MP & Silva first came on board in 2014 to sell the international rights as part of its wider remit with Pro League that also included the sale of domestic media rights.

The agency provided a minimum guarantee of €70m ($76.7m) per year from 2014-15 to 2016-17 followed by a guarantee of €80m per year from 2017-18 to 2019-20. In selling the international rights, MP & Silva would often bundle the Pro League together with other football properties.