Vodafone Claims Live Mobile Soccer Rights It Doesn’t Own

Last week, Vodafone’s Lisbon office issued a press release stating: “*Vodafone* Portugal has secured the broadcasting rights for the 18 football matches of the Champions League.”

But that’s not the case, according to UEFA, the body which runs the league.

A UEFA spokesperson clarified to paidContent:UK: “The service of the Portuguese broadcaster RTP is carried by Vodafone (NYSE: VOD) on mobile. Vodafone, however, has no media rights for UEFA Champions League.”

Vodafone had put out an announcement suggesting an actual deal with UEFA when, in fact, it should have stated that channels from RTP are amongst those carried by Vodafone’s subscription mobile TV service in Portgual.

RTP is joint rightsholder to Champion’s League along with Sportinvest, which is not carried by Vodafone, in Portgual. Vodafone later clarified this situation to us. It also carries both channels on its IPTV service in Portugal.

But Vodafone had also told paidContent:UK: “The rights are for mobile broadcast only.” And UEFA again said otherwise: “We would like to inform you that media rights for UEFA Champions League are sold on a ‘platform-neutral’ basis. This means that broadcasters can exploit rights on TV, internet and mobile.”

The Champion’s League’s opening stages kicked off on August 17, with 82 live European rightsholders, including ITV (LSE: ITV) and Sky Sports in the UK, and more overseas, including Fox in the U.S.