Nent issues compensation warning, reduces sports package price

The Nordic Entertainment Group (Nent) will seek compensation from sports rights-holders if there are “longer-term” postponements or cancellations due to the impact of the global coronavirus outbreak.

The Nordic media group owns a wealth of sports rights for events and competitions that have been affected by the outbreak including many European football leagues, the Formula 1 motor racing series, and the US major leagues.

Nent has said that such compensation claims would be “under the terms of its contracts”.

In the short-term Nent has announced that it will be reducing the price of its sports packages for existing customers to the level of its TV and movies package. This means that the package would be reduced to SEK109 (€10.01/$11.25) per month in Sweden; DKK99 (€13.25/$14.83) per month in Denmark; NOK119 (€10.37/$11.70) per month in Norway; and €9.99 ($11.18) per month in Finland. Price changes will be effective immediately, but it is yet to be decided for how long they will apply.

Anders Jensen, Nent Group president and chief executive officer said: “We are facing an unprecedented situation with widespread postponements of many major sports leagues and events.

“We understand and respect the decisions made by sports event organisers around the world, who are rightly focused on safeguarding the health and well-being of athletes and fans. We are in close contact with the organisers to discuss how things will be handled moving forward.”

“Our first priority is always to deliver world class products to our customers, which is why we have taken the decision to make temporary adjustments to our sports package prices.”

Jensen added that Nent are “working hard to add short term alternatives in sports”.

Meanwhile, Discovery has lowered the price of its Dplay OTT streaming service in Sweden to SEK99 per month. The service usually costs SEK299 per month for customers with an annual subscription (or SEK349 per month for those without). Discovery holds rights to Swedish football’s Allsvenskan in a six-year contract that begins with the 2020 season.

Nent has said that the coronavirus outbreak will put at risk the company’s stated ambition to deliver a profitable growth in 2020. It said the outbreak has negatively impacted the demand for advertising, which accounted for 26-per-cent of the group’s sales in 2019.

An exclusive Formula 1 rights deal in Denmark, Finland, Iceland Norway and Sweden from 2022 to 2024 is the latest in a long line of rights agreements secured by Nent. The broadcaster’s recent headline deal in football was its €2.3bn six-year rights agreement for Premier League rights in the Nordic region (from 2022-23 to 2027-28). A renewal of its Bundesliga rights followed just days later.