No Polish free-to-air Champions League coverage on TVP

(Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
(Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Polish public-service broadcaster TVP has failed in a bid to negotiate a Uefa Champions League sublicensing deal ahead of the start of the group stage this evening (Tuesday).

The commercial and pay-television broadcaster Polsat holds the exclusive rights in Poland across the 2021-24 cycle but, unlike in previous seasons, has not sold rights on to TVP.

According to its current programming schedules, Polsat intends to show all fixtures from matchweek one on its subscription sports channels.

TVP has regularly aired a Wednesday match from Europe’s elite clubs competition on free-to-air television along with highlights from Tuesday and Wednesday matches. TVP’s most recent sublicensing deal with Polsat covered the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons.

Along with coverage on the TVP 1 channel, the public broadcaster streamed the action on the TVP Sport website and app.

Speaking at the end of last year, TVP head of sport Marek Szkolnikowski expressed his determination to negotiate a new agreement with Polsat.

He told Poland’s Wirtualne Media: “We do not want to give up the Champions League, because it is part of the public mission to fight the exclusion of viewers who cannot afford access to pay-TV packages. And these will be more and more expensive because this is the market trend.”

The outspoken Szkolnikowski left TVP over the summer.

Polsat acquired rights to 138 Champions League matches per season, and the annual Uefa Super Cup, in an auction run by the Team Marketing agency in 2021 (full details of the deal value from SportBusiness Media can be read here).

Polsat’s main free-to-air channel has showcased some live football in recent seasons, including the Polish Cup final and the Polish Super Cup. However, there are currently no Champions League matches programmed on the channel.

Polsat also sublicensed one Champions League match per week to TVP during the 2018-21 cycle. During the 2016-17 season, TVP showed all six of Legia Warsaw’s matches as the Polish side reached the group stage for the first time in 21 years.

During the 2021 auction, Polsat lost Europa League rights for the 2021-24 cycle to subscription streaming broadcaster Viaplay.

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