ESPN to show Eredivisie matches until 2030, despite calls on watchdog to intervene from Dutch telcos

Sports media giant, ESPN, is to show the Dutch professional football league Eredivisie until mid 2030, despite concerns raised by the Dutch consortium of telecom and cable operators that the exclusive talks taken place between the Eredivisie and ESPN’s parent company Disney were in breach of the country’s cartel rules. 

The agreement to extend ESPN’s media rights to Eredivisie after 2025 was reached by the football organisation Eredivisie CV and the 18 Eredivisie clubs, during the Eredivisie’s general meeting on Tuesday.

Telecom providers, Delta Fiber, KPN, Odido and VodafoneZiggo had urged the country’s markets watchdog, Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), last week to investigate the private negotiations that have taken place with the football body and Disney to attain media rights. According to the group, the Eredivisie football clubs can only market their broadcast rights jointly in there is a fair and transparent bidding process, which they say has not been the case here, and have asked ACM to define the award of rights to Disney/ESPN as an infringement. The consortium placed an offer of €180 million net for rights, but said that ECV had refused to engage with them.

“The new media deal is a positive outcome for Dutch Football fans, as well as clubs in the Eredivisie, Keuken Kampioen Divisie (Dutch First Division), Azerion Vrouwen Eredivisie (Dutch Women’s Premier Division) and KNVB Beker (Dutch Cup). Each club will receive a substantial increase in revenue,” said the league in a statement about the ESPN deal.

From 2024, all matches in the Keuken Kampioen Divisie and Azerion Vrouwen Eredivisie will be broadcast live on The Walt Disney Company-owned platform.

ESPN said, “We would like to remain the connecting factor for football-loving Netherlands, through the entire Dutch club football to people’s homes. This not only creates a solid financial basis for football, which is important for the continued growth and development of the competitions in terms of quality. But above all, we work together with the clubs to build a stage on which Dutch club football is widely available and accessible to all supporters. That is and remains our mission.”

Eredivisie CV noted it will continue to retain Eredivisie sponsorship rights and international media rights, under the deal. The football body said the various parties will now detail the terms of this agreement in a contract.

Read Next