Ekstraklasa, the company managing the top-class football competitions in Poland, is selling international broadcasting rights to the league matches, restarted after the pandemic. It has already signed agreements regarding broadcasts in Great Britain and Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Israel. Moreover, the contract regarding Germany, Austria and Switzerland has been expanded to include the broadcasting of up to 10 more matches. Further negotiations with the partners from Europe are ongoing. The Polish league is to be restarted on 29 May.
“We wish to use the interest in our league, which is one of the first in Europe to be restarted after the outbreak of the pandemic, in order to promote the matches and our OTT service – Ekstraklasa.TV. Our strategy is to license broadcasting rights to 2 matches per each round on a non-exclusive basis. We negotiate directly with broadcasters, media rights sales agencies and intermediaries offering support on selected territories, as well as with external OTT platforms. On the basis of fully-executed agreements, matches of PKO Bank Polski Ekstraklasa will be broadcast in at least 16 territories this season and we expect the next contracts to be signed in May or at the beginning of June” - commented Marcin Animucki, president of Ekstraklasa S.A.
On the basis of the executed contracts, in the current season 2 matches from each round of PKO Bank Polski Ekstraklasa will be shown in in the UK and Ireland on the free to air Canal 11 Free Sports channel, owned by Premier Media Sarl, which also broadcast La Liga, Liga NOS, MLS, Serie A oraz J1 League. The Polish matches will be available with English commentaries.
“This is great news for football fans in the UK with the Polish PKO BP Ekstraklasa set to return to our screens. We’re looking forward to bringing viewers two games live from each round live and completely free across TV platforms and via our FreeSports app” – commented Richard Sweeney, COO of FreeSports.
Moreover, 2 matches from each round of PKO Bank Polski Ekstraklasa, both in 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons, will be shown in Israel on the TV channels: Sport 1, Sport 1 HD, Sport 2, which broadcast among others French Ligue 1 and Belgian Pro League matches. Ekstraklasa has expanded its license agreement, regarding the seasons 2019/20 and 2020/21, with Sportdigital for up to 10 more matches. As a result, this television will show as many as 40 matches of PKO Bank Polski Ekstraklasa in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in the current season. It will also have the right to show selected matches on Eurosport channels with a 3-5 day delay. Moreover, the right to present 50 matches in the 2019/20 season, with the option to broadcast all of the remaining 88 matches of the Polish league, was acquired by the Spring Media agency, which will provide broadcasts of PKO Bank Polski Ekstraklasa on the basis of a single sub-license in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. The Scandinavians are preparing a broad promotional campaign, presenting top players in the league, as well as stadium atmosphere and emotions of fans during matches. The rights to show all matches of the Polish league based on exclusive licenses were already sold to 7 Balkan countries at the beginning of the season.
“We are excited to join the Ekstraklasa to our premium rights portfolio and expose this unique league to the Israeli sports fans which we are sure be happy to follow” - said Adar Zahavi, CEO Charlton Limited.
"Direktesport is Norway's largest sport streaming service and we are proud to present Ekstraklasa to our viewers in Norway. Polish people are by far the largest immigrant group in Norway and we are looking forward to serve both Polish and Norwegian viewers with high quality football” – commented Helge Birkelund, Vice President Sport, Amedia.
Ekstraklasa was able to finalize new contracts with broadcasters so quickly thanks to many years of experience in production of the television signal and supplying it to broadcasters in Poland and other markets. Ekstraklasa Live Park, Ekstraklasa’s production arm, has been producing match broadcasts for years, supplying signal transmission to BT Tower in London and having the entire process of delivering television broadcasts prepared in accordance with the needs of broadcasters and in the highest world quality - both in terms of technology, as well as the presentation itself. Ekstraklasa is also experienced in media rights sales of media rights on international markets.
Ekstraklasa wishes to use the restart of the league to promote Poland’s top tier football matches among international soccer fans. The league hopes to gain more visibility and build an audience not only among the Polish people, particularly due to the fact that there are relatively many foreigners in the Polish league. Another great asset of the Ekstraklasa is that the matches are broadcasted in the highest, world-class quality.
Ekstraklasa should like to use the broadcasters’ interest in Polish games to promote their own OTT application and platform – Ekstraklasa.TV, where all matches in the season are aired live and in the form of VOD. Matches are available all over the world – excluding Poland and seven Balkan countries covered with exclusive licence agreements – in the pay-per-view, monthly subscription and per season payment model.
“The promotion of our streaming platform Ekstraklasa.TV is a key element of our negotiations with foreign partners. Using this unique opportunity, we also hope to further grow our subscriber base. We have just launched the Ekstraklasa.TV Android application, which will further expand the availability of our content. There are three times more Android device users than those of iOS . Therefore, we expect a significant increase in the number of the Ekstraklasa.TV downloads, as well as in the number of video views and subscriptions. We are currently working on Apple TV and Smart.TV applications, which should be available from the 2020/21 season" - explained Małgorzata Borkowska, Media Rights Consultant at Ekstraklasa.
The Ekstraklasa.TV streaming platform was launched in August 2019 as one of the first OTT services in the football world. So far, it was available in the desktop version and in the form of iOS application. Ekstraklasa.TV currently has over 155,000 registered users.
Ekstraklasa is preparing for the restart of the competitions’ in line with a rigorous plan approved by the government. All players and crisis management team members appointed by the clubs to restart the league have already completed their sports isolation and tested negative for coronavirus. Currently, they are in the process of training, preparing for the games under continuous medical supervision. Ekstraklasa is to be restarted on 29 May, and the end of the football games is planned for 18 and 19 July. As part of this season, the Polish Ekstraklasa still have the most exciting part of the competitions ahead of them – the entire final round. With 8 teams competing in the top and the bottom group, the clubs have a fierce battle ahead of them.