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Nent to launch Viaplay in Baltics with Formula 1, Bundesliga and NHL

The Nordic Entertainment (Nent) Group will launch its Viaplay services in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in the first quarter of 2021, and has already started building its sports portfolio by acquiring rights to the Bundesliga, Formula 1 and NHL.

Anders Jensen, Group president and chief executive officer at Nent said: “Expanding Viaplay to the Baltic countries is a natural next step. These markets are close to home, relatively under-penetrated, growing fast, and we will have a truly unique content offering that addresses all three markets together.”

Nent has said that its full content offering will be announced closer to launch. However, it has already acquired multi-year rights to the F1 motor racing series and National Hockey League from 2021, and Germany’s Bundesliga from 2021-22.

Bundesliga rights are currently held by Discovery-owned sports broadcaster Eurosport, in a four-season deal, from 2017-18 to 2020-21. F1 and NHL have no media rights deal in place in the Baltics for the current cycle.

Nent has about 2.5 million subscribers for its Viaplay services in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. It launched in Iceland in April this year.

The Swedish media group is the leading sports broadcaster in the Nordics, and has been increasingly aggressive in acquiring sports rights over the last two years.

Nent was spun off from media company Modern Times Group before being listed on the Nasdaq Stockholm stock exchange last year. The two operate as separate companies.

MTG used to own a host of pay-television and free-to-air channels in Estonia (TV3, TV3+ and TV6); Latvia (TV3, TV3+, TV6, Kanals 2 and LNT) and Lithuania (TV3, TV6 and TV8). It sold all to investment firm Providence Equity Partners, which then rebranded the MTG channels to All Media Baltics.