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Euro 2016

Spaniards may be unable to watch Euro 2016 on TV

Madrid (AFP) – With less than a month until Euro 2016 gets underway in France, fans of defending champions Spain still do not know if they will be able to watch the finals on TV, as no media outlet in Spain has bought the rights to the tournament.

The high price demanded by European football governing body UEFA for the rights — around 45 million euros ($51 million) according to Spanish media sources — combined with fears that the finals will not be a ratings hit, appear to be turning off both free-to-air and pay TV stations.

“We are keeping informed on this question, but we are not negotiating anything,” a spokesman for Spanish public television TVE told AFP, without giving further details.

Privately owned Mediapro, which in December bought the rights to air La Liga matches for the next three seasons, is “not interested” in the rights to Euro 2016, a spokesman said.

Mediaset Espana, which owns Telecinco, Spain’s most watched free-to-air channel, as well as Cuatro, said it turned down a first offer for the rights but would not rule out buying them if the terms changed.

“If there is a change in the conditions and those conditions meet our criteria for profitability, it could be envisioned that we would have those rights,” a Mediaset spokeswoman told AFP.

Mediaset bought the rights for the Euro 2008 and Euro 2012 finals, which were both won by Spain.

The company paid 40 million euros for the rights to Euro 2012 which was held in Poland and the Ukraine. That tournament involved 16 teams, while this summer will feature 24 teams and therefore more matches to broadcast.

Atresmedia, which operated two free-to-air stations, La Sexta and Antena 3, also said it would consider a bid for the finals if broadcasting them would be profitable.

“We do not rule out anything. It all depends on what is in our margins of profitability,” a spokesman for the company said.

Media sources said the ratings for the tournament depend on the performance of Spain’s national team.

Spain is the only major European country where the rights have not been sold for the tournament, which gets underway on June 10.

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