Be TV ends Belgian pay-TV battle over match rights

Belgian cable pay-TV service Be TV has secured the TV rights to transmit two key football fixtures between leading local teams Anderlecht and Standard Liège at a cost of €1.2m, beating competition from Juliper League rights holder Belgacom TV, according to Belgian daily Le Soir.

The two ‘test matches’, to be played tonight and on Saturday at 20:30, have been the subject of a minor bidding war between Belgacom and Be TV (a Wallonian cable-delivered service based on the former Canal Plus Belgique platform) this week. Belgacom initially exercised its right of first refusal to equal the offer of the leading bidder for the test matches, which fall outside the scope of its Juliper League contract, by offering €410,000, beating Be TV’s initial bid of €400,000. That bid was rejected by the two clubs, leading Belgacom to pursue its rights in a Brussels court. However, Be TV subsequently trumped Belgacom with its much higher offer.

Belgacom said in a statement that it “was very surprised to discover that the first bidder, just 48 hours later, had suddenly tripled its original bid of the day before”. Belgacom said it “does not want to continue bidding against this unreasonable bid. Suddenly tripling an already high (market-based) bid is not justified, especially given the current economic climate.”

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