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Vodafone and Orange demand Telefónica shares football rights

Virgin Media football campaignVodafone Spain and Orange Spain have called on Telefónica to be forced to distribute its exclusive football content via their platforms, following this week’s deal between Telefónica and Catalan broadcaster Mediapro that gives the country’s leading telco access to a full line-up of Spanish and international football.

Thew pair believe that rules set by the competition regulator, the CNMC, oblige Telefónica to resell its football offering to rival operators.

When Telefónica acquired pay TV operator Canal+ España, the CNMC set a condition that it would have to give its rivals access to 50% of its premium pay TV content because of its dominant position in the pay TV market relative to that of other telcos.

“Orange already offers all football (La Liga, the Champions League and other European leagues) for the 2015-16 season. Further, it will offer the content of the Champions League and European leagues for the two next season – 2016-17 and 2017-18,” said Orange in a statement.

“Orange will have access to all the football content of La Liga for the three following seasons since Telefónica has an obligation to distribute the rights that it acquires exclusively.”

Orange and Vodafone have made a key selling point of their ability to offer Mediapro’s BeIN Sports, which provides coverage of key La Liga matches and European football, particularly during the period when Telefónica failed to strike a deal with Mediapro that would have allowed it to carry BeIN Sports. Telefónica holds exclusive rights to other La Liga matches.