Public Broadcasting Services has concluded an exclusive deal with UEFA for the centralized media rights for the qualifying campaigns for UEFA EURO 2016 and 2018 FIFA World Cup, including Malta’s home and away qualifiers.
Speaking during a presentation on Thursday, Chief Executive Officer Anton Attard explained that PBS was committed to offer an excellent service with regards to sports, not only football, for free. After agreeing deals for the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Europa League and the BOV Premier League, PBS has now acquired the rights for the European Qualifiers covering EURO 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup. PBS has also secured the rights for the Malta Under-17 national team’s matches in the UEFA Under-17 Championship finals, the semi-finals and final of the competition which will be played in Malta next May.
PBS Sports Co-ordinator Peter Cossai said this was the first time, PBS acquired the rights of the whole package covering all EURO 2016 and 2017 FIFA World Cup qualifiers after UEFA centralised the media rights for two qualifying campaigns which are now being branded by UEFA as the European Qualifiers. PBS has the ‘first pick’ on each match day and will therefore be able to screen a game at each particular kick-off time on the match-days which with the introdcution of ‘the week of football’ concept will be played between Thursdays and Tuesdays.
Cossai explained that TVM and/or TVM2 will be screening twelve games per week apart from the Malta games.
The package includes highlight programmes, delayed match programmes and magazine programmes. There will be a unified look and feel for the broadcasting of European Qualifiers with the use of a minimum of ten cameras and High-Definition production.
The acquired rights also include new media and therefore matches will not only be transmitted on TV but also on mobile devices and the internet. Anton Attard did not rule out the possibility of broadcasting all matches via the tvm.com.mt website.
As regards May’s UEFA Under 17 Championship which will be held in Malta, PBS acquired the rights for the Malta games, the semi-finals and final. These will be broadcast with local commentary.
Anton Attard said the focus will be on the top teams like England, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal, among others and considering the way that these are usually not playing on the same day, one can watch these top teams for free during a particular week.
Attard remarked that all 64 games from this summer’s 2014 FIFA World Cup will be screened on TVM and TVM2 for free. Programmes before and after the games will feature local analysis while the PBS will be the main partner in several Official World Cup Villages around Malta.
PBS Chairman Tonio Portughese thanked the management for their hard work and said that they have been working hand in hand with the board. He said PBS made a big push with regards to sports, not only football.
Portughese said negotations were not easy, even considering that other media operators had placed their bids but PBS did not want to miss the opportunity to secure exclusive rights for these events. He said that since PBS was offering a public service, the company had to strike a balance for financial sustainability but they needed to have courage to launch a bid for these events. In fact, PBS has also secured the services for the final stages of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups.