Culture minister wants to restore crown jewels list to ensure all major Danish sport is on free-to-air TV

Detractors argue that such arrangements are obsolete and only cause bureaucratic nightmares for negotiators. Besides, they add, beyond the odd qualifier and the Olympic swimming being on Discovery, the fallout isn’t overly harsh

When Denmark qualified for the 2022 World Cup earlier this month, they did so in front of a full house at Parken and 762,000 viewers watching on K5, according to TNS Gallup.

Had the game been shown on DR1 or TV2, which has been the case with all Danish home internationals up until relatively recently, the game could have attracted an audience of closer to 1.5 million. 

For example, Denmark’s semi-final against England at Euro 2020 was watched by 2.2 million people – close to three times as many who saw the Austria game. 

Now Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen, the culture minister, wants to reintroduce a crown jewels list to ensure major sport involving Danish competitors is available to media licence players at no extra cost on channels that a minimum of 90 percent have access to.

“It is a pity that our fantastic national football team over the autumn has played wonderful football matches that most of Denmark has not been able to see,” she lamented.

No list since 2019
A previous crown jewels list was discontinued at the end of 2018 following a blue bloc agreement.

For football, the prior list included all major tournaments and all of the Danish men’s qualifying games, and it also included all major handball tournaments and the Olympics.

Following the agreement to end the list, half the Olympic coverage has been snapped up by Discovery, and most of the men’s football qualifiers by the likes of Nordic Entertainment Group and Viaplay.

Fortunately there is a FIFA provision that ensures Denmark’s World Cup games, as well as the opening game, third-place game and final, are on free-to-air TV.

They are offered to DR and TV2 at market price. And with a crown jewels list, the entire tournament would be available at the same rock bottom rate. 

However, detractors argue that the negotiations tend to be dogged by bureaucracy and that crown jewels lists are obsolete in a new age of television increasingly dominated by streaming.

An EU agreement?
“There is just a unifying force in sports, which we have enjoyed for decades, and which connects us as a country,” argues Halsboe-Jørgensen.

“It is important that the major sporting events that can really bring us together as a people are shown on TV channels, which the vast majority of Danes have access to.”

Halsboe-Jørgensen has indicated she would like to do something under the auspices of the EU to find a way to ensure the big sports events are available to all.

Nevertheless, DR and TV2 already have the rights to show the next two World Cups and the next two European Championships, while TV2 has a deal to show all national team handball until 2025.

And the next Olympics, and also next year’s Winter Olympics, will be shown on DR and TV2 as Discovery has sold on the rights to them.

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