Pro League partners with Kinepolis to show matches at cinemas
Belgian soccer’s Pro League and its new broadcast rights partner Eleven Sports have teamed up with Kinepolis, the national cinema chain, to screen the first two match days of the upcoming 2020-21 season at outlets around the country.
The coverage will begin with the opening round of fixtures this weekend and complement Eleven’s own offering in its debut season as the league’s new rights-holder.
The alternative viewing option has been launched as all games will be played behind closed doors for the foreseeable future.
Tickets to watch the matches can be purchased for €9 ($10) and will begin with three fixtures on Saturday with champions Club Brugge versus Charleroi, Antwerp versus Mouscron and Standard Liege versus Cercle Bruges.
There will be a further six games on Sunday, while the second match day will take place across four days next week.
Eleven landed domestic rights to the Pro League in a five-year deal worth €103 million, replacing telecoms trio Proximus, Telenet and Voo.
Earlier this week, Eleven agreed a sub-licensing deal with RTBF, the country’s French-language public-service broadcaster, to offer highlights of the league over the course of the contract.
This follows on from distribution deals with Proximus and Orange as well as an agreement with Mediapro, the Spanish media rights and production agency that was an unsuccessful bidder for the domestic rights in Belgium, to produce the coverage of the league and assist with the sale of global media rights, and with Proximus Media House, the production arm of the Belgian telecoms firm, to produce the three new channels focused on domestic competitions.
This season’s Pro League will feature 18 teams, two more than envisaged, after a court ruled that Waasland-Beveren, which were relegated at the end of the 2019-20 season, should be reinstated.
The club had gone to the Belgian court of arbitration for sport arguing that as the previous season was terminated early because of the coronavirus pandemic their demotion was not justified.
As a result, a new structure has been agreed for the 2020-21 season, with Waasland-Beveren reprieved and joined in the top division by OH Leuven and Beerschot Wilrijk, the two clubs that contested the promotion play-off.