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Telenet and Voo big winners in Pro League rights auction

Pay-television operators Telenet and Voo have been awarded live rights for the Pro League, the top division of club football in Belgium.

The MP & Silva agency handled the rights-sales process, which covered the three seasons from 2017-18 to 2019-20 in Belgium and Luxembourg.

The broadcasters were awarded non-exclusive rights (lot one) for live television coverage, with Telenet having rights in Dutch and Voo having rights in French for three seasons.

Telenet was also awarded lot two – exclusive rights in Dutch and French for live coverage on internet and mobile platforms.

The rights for lot three – live coverage of the Super Cup – were acquired exclusively for pay-television platforms by Telenet in Dutch and French, and for free-to-air television by local public-service broadcaster RTBF in French.

Lot four, featuring in-game delayed coverage and clips, was acquired on a non-exclusive basis in French by Voo and RTBF, and on a non-exclusive basis in Dutch by public-service broadcaster VRT.

The weekend free-to-air highlights included in lot five were acquired on a non-exclusive basis by Telenet in Dutch and RTBF in French. Telenet will offer the highlights via free-to-air channel Vier.

Rights for lot six, featuring a Monday magazine show, were acquired non-exclusively by VRT in Dutch and RTBF in French.

According to Belgian newspaper l’Echo, clubs will receive an average of €76.2m ($83m) per season – a 15-per-cent increase on the previous cycle.

The report added that the figure will increase if pay-television provider Proximus or telecommunications company Orange decide to follow-up their interest by acquiring non-exclusive rights in one of the packages. Proximus has already submitted one offer, which was rejected.

MP & Silva reportedly guaranteed the league €80m per season.

However, international sports broadcaster Eleven, widely thought to be a likely rights-holder following the process, was reportedly put off by the league’s preference for awarding non-exclusive rights over three years, rather than exclusive rights over five seasons.