Telefonica pays 2.94 billion euros for Spanish football screening rights

FILE PHOTO: A general view shows the Telefonica headquarters in Madrid, Spain, June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Juan Medina

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s Telefonica said on Monday it had paid 980 million euros ($1.15 billion) per season for packages of television rights to screen Spanish football matches over the next three seasons until 2022, boosting its strategy to capture pay-TV viewers through premium content.

Telefonica will have direct control over the domestic TV rights for first division matches, screenings of which will carry Telefonica’s Movistar branded label, the telecoms company said in a press release.

In a separate note, Spain’s La Liga soccer league said it had awarded television rights for bars and international TV channels to Mediapro. The total cost for the packages of TV rights were 3.4 billion euros, La Liga said.

Telefonica is banking on boosting its Movistar+ pay-TV service by offering premium content like soccer matches and producing original Spanish-language drama series.

(This version of the story has been refiled to correct paragraph 3 to 3.4 billion instead of 3.4 million.)

Reporting By Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg