ESPN Secures LaLiga Rights Through 2029 – Global Bulletin

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In today’s Global Bulletin, ESPN scores LaLiga rights for the next eight years; the U.K. government looks to unload Channel 4; Bavaria Fiction wraps principle shooting on its Netflix horror feature “The Privilege”; and London to get 1,575-seater theater.

SPORTS

In a Disney earnings call on Tuesday evening, it was announced that ESPN had picked up a raft of sports broadcast and streaming rights in the U.S., including the next eight seasons of Spain’s top soccer competition LaLiga.

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With all matches to be made available live and on demand via ESPN Plus, several of the higher-profile games will also air across ESPN networks each season and be covered on established ESPN programs such as Sports Center and ESPN FC, among others. ESPN Plus will also host complimentary programming including match previews and highlight shows.

The deal includes both English and Spanish-language broadcast and streaming rights and is indicative of league president Javier Tebas’ push to grow the league abroad. Already a favorite among the U.S. Hispanic population, the ease with which English-speaking soccer fans will now be able to access LaLiga could prove a significant step forward for LaLiga, as games will be available both on ESPN linear networks and the ESPN Plus streaming app. ESPN already had rights to several Spanish cup competitions and will continue to broadcast and stream those events under the new deal.

“This is an historic eight-season agreement in U.S. soccer broadcasting that speaks to the power of LaLiga and its clubs in the largest media market in the world and will bring the world’s best soccer league to American screens in a more comprehensive and modern way than ever before,” said Tebas in a statement accompanying the announcement.

Canadian rights to LaLiga were also included as part of the deal, with TSN and RDS set to broadcast LaLiga matches, highlights, and news to through their linear and streaming platforms, including live streaming on TSN.ca, RDS.ca, and the TSN and RDS apps.

NETWORK

Doubling down on a statement from October of last year, U.K. culture secretary Oliver Dowden on Thursday said that publicly owned broadcaster Channel 4 could be sold to a private owner, arguing that privatizing the channel would offer a more sustainable future for the network.

Dowden, speaking at a hearing of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, explained that the potential privatization of Channel 4 was “on the table” as a potential result of a governmental review of public service broadcasting. When asked about a potential timetable, he explained that it had not been “ruled out” that a sale could come as soon as the end of this parliament.

Channel 4 was first launched in 1982 and, although it is commercially financed and doesn’t receive public funding, is owned by the government.

PRODUCTION

Principle shooting has wrapped on Bavaria Fiction’s Netflix-bound YA horror feature “The Privilege.” In the film, 17-year-old protagonist Finn is convinced he and his surroundings are cursed after a series of unfortunate events rock his wealthy family. Under stress, family bonds begin to erode.

“The Privilege” stars “Dark” standout Max Schimmelpfennig (“Dark”), Lea von Acken (“The Diary of Anne Frank”), Roman Knižka (“Dark Woods”) and Lise Risom Olsen (“The Innocents”). Felix Fuchssteiner and Katharina Schöde (“Ruby Red”, “Sapphire Blue”, “Emerald Green”) share directing duties of the screenplay from writers Sebastian Niemann (“Jack the Ripper”) and Eckhard Vollmar (“Room 205”). A release date has not yet been announced for the film.

THEATER

Trafalgar Entertainment (TE) has teamed with Yoo Capital and Deutsche Finance International (DFI), developers of a £1.3 billion ($1.83 billion) update of London’s Olympia Theatre, to secure a 70-year lease for the 1,575-seat venue. TE has joined the agreement as part of a larger plan to develop the location into one of the nation’s premiere cultural spaces, much like its neighbor Royal Albert Hall has been for 150 years. The initial term of TE’s lease extends 35 years, at which point it can renewed for another 35. Currently under construction, the Olympia Theater is scheduled to open in 2025.

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