Ekstraklasa S.A. and TV broadcasters reached an agreement on formal solutions related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Polish top football league PKO Bank Polski Ekstraklasa games. These arrangements include, among other things, possible disruptions to the games which may result from modifications to the calendar of international football events. As a result, Ekstraklasa S.A. secured the revenues from media rights until the end of the 2020/21 season and signed contracts with major TV partners, CANAL+ and TVP for next two seasons, i.e. 2021/22 and 2022/23. Thanks to that, the total value of contracts during four seasons (2019/20 – 2022/23), together with the costs of TV signal production by Ekstraklasa Live Park in the world highest quality 4K and Ultra HD, will amount to PLN 1 billion. PLN 250 million of this sum for the 2019/20 season has already been settled.
During the term of the contract, CANAL+ will, as before, broadcast all PKO Bank Polski Ekstraklasa matches, while TVP will show one game in each round in the open band – parallel to CANAL+. Both broadcasters, as part of the purchased packages, will also show replays of matches as well as publish highlights in news programs and league magazines. CANAL+ will also be able to publish highlights and an online magazine on its official website as part of its increased extended range of digital rights. The broadcaster has also extended its rights to publish the most important match situations as part of the so-called “digital near live clips”, i.e. video material with key match actions that is made available immediately after their appearance during the matches. CANAL+ will be able to use them not only in its mobile application, but also in its own social media. Match highlights and digital near live actions will also be shown in the league OTT platform - Ekstraklasa.TV - and in the Ekstraklasa app.
- The coronavirus pandemic not only destabilized this year’s games, but also greatly complicated the still not very favourable international calendar in the following years. The European Championship has been postponed to next year, the European U-21 Championship will be held in 2021 and the World Cup in Qatar in 2022. So next season we won’t be able to play 37 rounds, as initially assumed in the contracts with the broadcasters, because the league will start much later and there will be no possibility to extend the season. In addition, by the end of the year we will not have any available dates in the middle of the week, as they have all been booked by UEFA. We will therefore be playing 30, not 37 matchweeks, without a final part, although it increases the attractiveness of the games and was important from the broadcasters’ perspective. It will not be there in the next two seasons either, because according to previous decisions we will play a match and rematch 34 rounds with 18 teams. At the same time, it should be remembered that the threat of a recurrence of the pandemic is still hanging over our heads, which is assumed even in the autumn by both the WHO and the Polish government. So it is difficult to say when the situation will normalize and how it will affect the next years. In the face of such an uncertain situation, it was crucial for us to look for solutions that would allow us to spread the risk related to the consequences of the pandemic, because this spring had disastrous financial consequences for the clubs – comments Marcin Animucki, President of the Management Board of Ekstraklasa SA.
- The new arrangements with the broadcasters significantly secure interests of the league, spreading the risks evenly between the parties. Important support in the process of negotiating these conditions was provided by the clubs’ presidents Dariusz Mioduski, Cezary Kulesza and Grzegorz Jaworski, delegated to this task on behalf of the supervisory board, for which I would like to thank them very much – adds Marcin Animucki.
- We have been bound with Ekstraklasa since 1995 and for a quarter of a century we have the privilege to accompany footballers and fans of Polish clubs as the main broadcaster. Such a long and stable “relationship” is not only the know-how resulting from many years of cooperation and experience, which is a guarantee of the highest quality of TV production and service, but also a commitment to fair play in difficult, unpredictable times. That is why we have started talks about such a renegotiation of the agreement, which gives Ekstraklasa a guarantee of stability – regardless of external circumstances over which we have no influence. The result of these talks is the agreement just signed. In the next three seasons, all matches of PKO Bank Polski Ekstraklasa will therefore continue to be available for watching in CANAL+ on a satellite platform, in the offer of cable and online TV providers, thanks to the new CANAL+ service TV via the Internet. It remains for us to say – we play on, see you later, live in CANAL+ and hopefully live in the stadiums – says Edyta Sadowska, President of the Management Board of CANAL+.
- The CANAL+ editorial office is the best in the journalistic league, so we are happy to continue to show our fans the best football games in Poland. For years we have been keeping our hand on the pulse, we are on every game, every stadium – we look where others can’t. The league has no secrets from us. We devote most of our time to Ekstraklasa, we produce many unique magazines, we provide the best commentary and expert setting. We add emotions to the league and wrap it like the most beautiful gift. Many matches will be shown in 4K quality, nothing will escape our attention – assures Michał Kołodziejczyk, director of CANAL+ sports editorial office.
- This is a great success for Telewizja Polska. We have extended our contract with the football Ekstraklasa for two years on much better conditions. In the seasons 2021/22 and 2022/23 we will have either the first or second choice of the game in each round. This guarantees that the best matches will be available in every Polish home. Of course, the rights to Ekstraklasa are an important addition to TVP’s football portfolio: we have the EURO, the World Cup, Champions League, European Cup qualifiers, the Cup of the King and Italy, the Second League, the Women’s Ekstraliga and, above all, the matches of the Polish national teams – both the one led by Jerzy Brzęczek, as well as youth and women – said Jacek Kurski, President of the Management Board of Telewizja Polska S.A. - We build a great sport in TVP. Ekstraklasa is an important element in our puzzle. We consistently and persistently create a sports dream channel – added Marek Szkolnikowski, director of TVP Sport.
The cancellation of mass events in Poland during the pandemic and the suspension of PKO Bank Polski Ekstraklasa, which was introduced in March this year, resulted in a drastic drop in the current revenues of the clubs and their total cut-off from the planned revenues overnight. Thus, the participants faced a real risk of losing financial liquidity and even bankruptcy, which could result in the collapse of football potential in Poland. In order to prevent this situation, immediate multidimensional actions have been taken within the Ekstraklasa, in cooperation with the Polish Football Association (PZPN), aiming to provide the clubs with revenues and to resume the games as soon as possible. At the same time, solutions were sought to stabilise clubs’ revenues and manage risk sharing between the league and the broadcasters resulting from independent events such as pandemics and the associated social and economic constraints. The new agreements with CANAL+ and TVP are the answer to these needs. They will also prevent long-term disputes with broadcasters relating to the non-performance or improper performance of licensing agreements by the league as a result of a pandemic or irregularity in the international calendar, as they contain provisions on accounting rules in such situations.
- The situation in Europe and the world with regard to media rights is difficult and uncertain, sometimes partners withdraw from contracts and refuse to pay out money. Also here, due to the suspension of the games, the payouts by the broadcasters were temporarily suspended. Any such case is a big problem, as the revenues from centralised media and marketing rights form the basis of club budgets. Thanks to new agreements with CANAL+ and TVP, we will be able to guarantee the clubs stable payouts of PLN 225 million also in the next three seasons. Similar solutions are also introduced in other countries. Whenever possible, relations with broadcasters around the world continue to ensure the continuity of sports events and the management of sports under license agreements - explains Marcin Animucki.
- As the last months have shown, ensuring the stability of the league competition also has an important social and economic dimension. I am glad that together with the broadcasters we were able to work out solutions that will allow us to protect this common good and undisturbed development of Polish football – sums up Animucki.