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UPC Switzerland and Swisscom in landmark reciprocal sports deal

Liberty Global-owned UPC Switzerland has struck a reciprocal agreement for the distribution of its premium sports offering, MySports, and Swisscom-backed pay TV offering Teleclub on each other’s platforms.

From this autumn, UPC and Swisscom customers will have equal access to live sport content from both services, further details of the commercial offerings will be made public before the launch.

UPC said that the agreement would benefit the 1.8 million subscribers who take MySports either direct from UPC or through distribution partners via Suissedigital, in addition to Swisscom’s 1.55 million TV customers.

The agreement means that UPC and Swisscom customers will have the ability to watch all games of the top Swiss football and hockey leagues, as well as the matches of the UEFA Champions League, the Bundesliga and other European football leagues, and the European and North American hockey leagues.

The deal brings to an end a long period of sometimes acrimonious dispute between the pair over access to sports following the launch of MySports three years ago, based on UPC’s exclusive deal for popular ice-hockey rights. That deal and the launch of the service broke an effective monopoly of Cinetrade, the owner of Teleclub in which Swisscom holds a majority stake, in premium Swiss sports rights.

Swiss cable operators, including UPC, had long resented what they saw as the restrictive terms under which Teleclub was offered to third-party distributors.

Baptiest Coopmans, CEO UPC Switzerland, said: “Already less than three years after its launch, MySports has developed into a leading player on the Swiss TV sports landscape. With distribution on Swisscom TV we will be able to make a wish come true for many fans of Swiss ice hockey: full access to MySports via Swisscom. At the same time, customers of UPC and the MySports distribution partners from Suissedigital will benefit from the full sports and entertainment offerings of Teleclub, which has been a long-standing desire of ours.”

Urs Schaeppi, CEO Swisscom, said: “We are continually expanding our Teleclub Entertainment offerings and we delight customers with highly emotional content. Now all Swisscom TV and UPC customers, as well as TV customers of other platforms, will soon be able to enjoy the respective content from MySports and Teleclub, at the same conditions. That’s an important milestone. We are very pleased that, for the benefit of all sport fans, we have now been able to reach this important agreement.”