News Corp-owned Fox International Channels (FIC) has acquired a majority stake in Endemol’s Dutch football broadcaster Eredivisie Media & Marketing (EMM).
EMM was established in 2008 by the 18 clubs in the top division of Dutch football (Eredivisie) and global prodco Endemol. It handles corporate media and sponsorship rights on behalf of the clubs and has its own dedicated channel, Eredivisie Live.
FIC, which operates channels including 24Kitchen and Nat Geo Wild in the Netherlands, has now acquired a 51% stake in EMM. This will bring Eredivisie Live into its portfolio and gives it the right to show Dutch football live in the Netherlands. The clubs will retain a 49% stake.
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has based its pay-TV success in the UK, Italy and elsewhere on long-term broadcasting rights to the domestic and European football competitions through its Sky brand. It is unclear whether Eredivisie Live will be rebranded as a Fox or Sky channel.
Financial details were not disclosed by FIC, but according to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf the deal is worth €1bn (US$1.23bn) over 12 years, running from the 2013/14 season through to the end of the 2024/25 campaign. The deal will see FIC pay €60m in its first year, €80m in its second and €100m thereafter, and underwrite the €60m debt currently carried by Eredivisie Live.
The deal was unanimously agreed to by the 18 clubs and Endemol, according to a statement from FIC.
Alex Tielbeke, director of media and marketing for Eredivisie, said: “FIC is part of an international network of successful sports channels in the US, Latin America, Asia and now Europe. We plan to use that knowledge and expertise as we continue to grow the success of Eredivisie Live.”
President and CEO of FIC Hernan Lopez said the move, which is subject to approval by the Dutch Competition Authority, was part of a continuing drive by his company into sports broadcasting worldwide.