The state broadcaster ERT has renegotiated the rights for the television coverage of Greek football league games, including the Superleague 1, Superleague 2 and Football League tournaments, government spokesperson Stelios Petsas announced.
Under the agreement, ERT will pay 8.9 million euros for television coverage of Superleague 1 games in the 2019-2020 season, down from 22 million euros under the initial agreement and 44 million euros that the previous government had promised before the elections, he said.
He accused the previous government of "setting a time-bomb" at the foundations of ERT and the Greek football league with its promise to pay 63.2 million euros for football broadcasting rights two days before the elections, in a bid to collect votes.
"By comparison, transmission of the entire World Cup in Russia in 2018 had cost ERT just 10 million euros," he pointed out, noting that the broadcaster's cash reserves were a mere 88,000 euros.
For this reason, the broadcaster's general assembly had authorised the outgoing board to renegotiate the deal for the broadcasting rights and submit lower offers, thus creating the right environment for private channels to make bids, Petsas said. This meant that Superleague teams FC Panathinaikos and FC Aris were 'released' from the state broadcaster, which got a lower price from the four teams (Atromitos, Lamia, Xanthi and Panaitolikos) whose games it had a previous agreement to cover.
The new price represented savings of 13.1 million euros relative to the initial contract and savings of 35.1 million euros relative to the previous government's pre-election pledges, Petsas said.