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TV2 Denmark dislodges Discovery by acquiring all Uefa national team rights

Danish government-owned broadcaster TV2 has picked up a clean sweep of all rights available in the country from the latest Uefa European Qualifiers, Nations League and European Championship invitation to tender, from 2022-23.

It has acquired all Uefa European Qualifiers and Nations League matches (including the key Danish national team matches), from 2022-23 to 2027-28, as well as the 2024 and 2028 European Championships.

It has agreed to sublicense almost half of the matches from the Euro 2024 and Euro 2028 finals to public-service broadcaster DR.

TV2 will broadcast all Danish national team matches on its main TV2 channel. The matches from the qualifiers and Nations League not involving the Danish team, of which there are about 1,200, will be aired across TV2’s channel and TV2 Play, its OTT streaming service.

Rights to European Qualifiers and Nations League matches in Denmark, from 2018-19 to 2021-22, are held by international media group Discovery, while rights to Euro 2020 – which will take place next year – were acquired by media group Nordic Entertainment (Nent) Group. Nent has sublicensed Danish national team matches to DR.

This latest loss of rights for Discovery represents another blow to the media group in Denmark, which has already seen its football content reduced. Last year, it missed out on renewing its sublicensing deal for English Premier League rights from Nent in the 2019-20 to 2021-22 cycle, after the latter sealed a deal with quadruple play service provider YouSee.

It lost out on rights to Uefa’s club competitions earlier this year, meaning its Uefa Europa League coverage will end after the 2020-21 season.

However, the media group does still hold the domestic top-tier Danish Superliga rights until 2023-24, and Olympic Games rights till 2024.

Discovery has also been involved in several high-profile distribution disputes with various operators in the country. In particular, it has failed to agree a distribution agreement with YouSee following an ongoing and public battle. Since January 1, TDC Group-owned YouSee customers have not had access to Discovery content.

Discovery’s viewing figures for Saturday’s Nations League match between Denmark and Belgium have come in for criticism with an audience of just 357,000 viewers on the Kanal 5 channel, according to market research firm Kantar Gallup.

The Danish Football Federation (DBU) told Ekstra Bladet, the Danish newspaper: “It’s disappointing and surprising, because we’ve even noticed a tremendous amount of interest when we’ve made content like video or podcast and posted it on social media.”

The DBU added the caveat that the number of viewers who watched the match on Dplay, Discovery’s OTT streaming service, was not known.

Uefa, and its exclusive sales agent for national team rights CAA Eleven, launched international rights to market for six seasons, as exclusively reported by SportBusiness, last month.

It began its sales process by issuing an invitation to tender in the Nordic markets (Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden). A separate but concurrent sales processes was carried out for the 2024 and 2028 European Championship rights and the ‘Uefa National Team Football’ rights (Uefa Nations League, European Qualifiers, and friendly matches), from 2022-23 to 2027-28.

Earlier this week, Norwegian commercial and pay-television broadcaster TV2 acquired rights to the Norwegian national team  qualifying and Nations League matches, as well as the European Championships. It has agreed to sublicense selected matches from the Euro 2024 and Euro 2028 finals to public-service broadcaster NRK.

Last week, Nordic Entertainment (Nent) Group, the Stockholm-based media group, was awarded rights in Sweden to the Swedish national team qualifying and Nations League matches.