Vodafone Spain: Telefónica motorsports deal not yet done

A Vodafone Spain spokesperson told FierceWireless:Europe that the operator has yet to pin down a deal with Telefónica covering access to motorsports content.

Several news outlets reported last week that the operators had agreed a deal granting Vodafone Spain access to Formula 1 and MotoGP from 2017. DigitalTVEurope.net, for example, stated that the deal would add to an existing agreement between the operators covering access to Telefónica’s Movistar Estrenos movie channel and key football matches.

However, a Vodafone Spain spokesperson said that discussions between the operators regarding the motorsport access are ongoing and that “no contract has been signed as of yet.”

Those discussions “are going well and Vodafone Spain is confident that we will be able to screen F1 and motorsport next season,” the spokesperson told FW:E.

The Vodafone Spain source explained that Spanish regulations oblige Telefónica “to give Vodafone Spain access to 50 per cent of the rights for premium TV content. F1 and motorsports are considered premium and we’ve already shown interest in having access to them.”

Access to Telefónica’s premium content was a key requirement placed on the operator as part of a previous acquisition of Canal+ España, which held the rights to the motorsports content, SportsProMedia reported.

Vodafone Spain in May turned to Spanish regulator the National Commission Markets and Competition (CNMC) to press for access to Telefónica’s premium content, DigitalTVEurope.net reported at the time.

At the heart of the complaint was a reported refusal by Telefónica to offer its rivals access to premium content until July at the earliest, the news outlet stated.

In the case of Formula 1 and MotoGP, such an offer would mean viewers using rival operators would have missed much of the opening half of those sports respective seasons.

Vodafone Spain called for CNMC to clarify the conditions of Telefónica’s requirement to open content to rivals, and complained about the delay in gaining such access, DigitalTVEurope.net said.

For more:
- see this DigitalTVEurope.net article
- view this SportsProMedia report
- see this related DigitalTVEurope.net report

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