Oleksandr Denysov: Football 1/Football 2 - Helping Hand to UPL Despite Tender Failure

Published Wed, 8 May, 16:14

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Oleksandr Denysov, Director, Football 1/Football 2, denied rumours of the Football 2 closure and clarified the channels’ stand on UPL (Ukrainian Premier League) tender.

- It is for the second time over the last two months that some media outlets circulate rumours related to the Football 2 closure arguing that the next season would allegedly offer insufficient content to fill up the two channels.

- Those at fault for the mud-slinging and for making it public are misleading their readers. This is no more than just stovepiping by so called «do-gooders». Here is an example to prove the statement. We are holding rights to broadcast the Champions League and Europa League. Those tournaments’ matches are scheduled for the two slots 8P.M. and 10 P.M. Moreover two matches a day are held at the same time and it is impossible to broadcast them on one channel. And speaking of the Europa League: suppose, two Ukrainian clubs are playing simultaneously and it is next to impossible to broadcast one of them live and the other one delayed (as recorded). Similarly one channel can’t possibly air a few European championships given that all matches are mostly held at the same time.

Secondly, people spreading untrue information just have no idea of the television backstage. Two channels do not mean two identical budget costs. What we deal with is essentially a single channel with a single editorial staff and production, with the product being aired on two frequencies. The second channel cost is in fact the leased frequency charge. The second channel has no implications either for content production or for the number of jobs.

- UPL is supposed to announce the tendering results this week;however, a few messages turn up on the media landscape concerning the tender and its failure. What is Football 1/Football 2 position on the issue?

- We were in contact with the UPL guys before, during and after the tender. We are the only TV partners to provide advisory services to UPL on a par with taking part in the tender. It is the clubs that need centralization of rights. Just compare it with the situation when the channels used to buy the broadcast rights directly from the clubs. The rights centralization promotes the UPL «costliness», so to say. Therefore the clubs are to be interested in the issue. The league development and the market development are the two parallel stories.

UPL – is nothing more than just an organization, just civil servants and their offices. Having seen that the tender is a lost cause, we did not move away from the UPL but proceeded with consulting. If you get back to my interview given in March you’ll come across a key phrase there: «It is only the tender that might indicate the cost of broadcast rights for Ukrainian football clubs». As of today the tender has actually failed. No queuing for the rights despite the fact that the tender was open for any competitors, whether western or Ukrainian. UPL got nothing at the end of this process except for Football 1/Football 2. We are definitely holding the lead in sports broadcasting in this country. However we chose a civilized approach and took part in the tender having applied for a certain part of rights. We turned up the only company in the tender. We are sure in a position to provide some advice but it is now for the clubs themselves to pose a question to UPL concerning the tender quality and give an opinion of it. The clubs are intent to get from UPL what was expected – money.

- If you are the sole tender participant the clubs would hardly agree to the situation. It means that you might again enter into direct relationship with the clubs?

- As far as I know a general meeting of the participants is bound to take place in June. UPL is supposed to report on the tender results and the funds involved. Various scenarios might further occur including the option you mean.   The clubs might sure be disappointed with the situation: no money, no possibility to sell their rights on their own. Should that be the case we will switch over to direct negotiations with the clubs. We are not going to negotiate one year contracts but will sure talk on long term contracts per club effective for a few seasons. This is our position of principle. We used to play by the rules. If we are faced with direct agreements we will be keen on entering into the long term ones to avoid doing the same thing year in year out, i.e. negotiating and the like.

We have a system of funds allocation among the clubs. All the clubs in our pool have equal rights and equal opportunities to earn as much as possible. Each club is subject to payment for participation in the pool. But the principal amount will depend upon their place within the top six. Each place on the list might increase the payment several-fold. The higher is the place in the table the larger is the sum. We always fulfill our obligations to the clubs. That’s the most important things of all. There is no club we have ever underpaid or carted off. The Football 1/Football 2 reputation is above all things. We appeared the only TV partners to provide advisory services to UPL. It is the clubs, first and foremost, that need the rights to be centralized instead of the situation when the channels used to buy the broadcast rights directly from the clubs. The rights centralization promotes the UPL costliness, so to say. Therefore the clubs are to be interested in the issue. The league development aтd the market development are the two parallel stories.

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