Euro 2016 - Euro qualifiers to screen on free-to-air TV in 30 nations

Football fans in 30 European nations will be able to watch qualifiers for the Euro 2016 tournament on free-to-air television in one of the first deals struck since UEFA began to sell rights centrally.

Reuters
Euro 2016 - Euro qualifiers to screen on free-to-air TV in 30 nations
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UEFA 2016 (Reuters)

The deal signed by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) covers nations including Belgium, Portugal, Czech Republic and Switzerland.

Public service broadcasters in those countries will get the domestic rights to show home and away matches involving their respective national teams. The deal also covers qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup.

"This will bring games to the widest possible audience," said Pascal Fratellia of the EBU, an alliance of free-to-air broadcasters across the continent.

Rights holders must balance a desire for wide exposure against the more lucrative deals sometimes on offer from younger pay-TV companies which use sports to build subscriber numbers.

UEFA, European soccer's governing body, has appointed an agency to sell rights to qualifiers for Euro 2016 centrally for the first time, rather than individual soccer associations doing their own deals.

The intention is to replicate the commercial success of the Champions' League club competition. Rights deals for major soccer-playing nations such as Germany, England and Spain are still to be agreed.

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