BeNeLeague Basketball, the new commercial rights-holder of Belgian and Dutch domestic basketball, is expecting bids by May 5 for media rights to the competitions under its banner, SportBusiness understands.

BeNeLeague Basketball will begin its inaugural 2021-22 season in August, linking the existing domestic leagues in Belgium and the Netherlands.

The domestic leagues of both countries will remain intact, however a new cross-border phase has been added to enhance commercial interest and strengthen the quality of competition in the Benelux region.

The five highest-placed teams in each domestic league will compete in the cross-border phase, which lasts for 10 matchdays. In addition, both domestic leagues and the combined BeNeLeague will run their own post-season playoffs, ensuring domestic and cross-border champions are crowned. A total of between 344 and 360 matches will be played each season across the three competitions.

BeNeLeague Basketball is conducting separate processes in Belgium and the Netherlands, but the tender structure is the same across both territories.

Rights are available for three seasons, from 2021-22 to 2023-24. The rights to each of the three competitions cannot be acquired separately. International media rights, betting rights and data rights are not included in the tender.

Pay-television broadcasters in each country can acquire rights to all matches from the domestic and cross-border phases.

The rights are available to a pay-television broadcaster on an exclusive basis in the Netherlands, but live rights to eight matches per season will be carved out for free-to-air broadcasters in Belgium. Delayed, highlights and clips rights are available in separate packages.

BeNeLeague Basketball will produce all matches. Bids from broadcasters are expected to cover rights fee and production costs. However, the standard of production offered by the BeNeLeague will depend on the size of the bids received.

Rights to Belgium’s Pro Basketball League are currently held by pay-television operator Proximus and Flemish-language public-service broadcaster VRT in deals that expire at the end of the 2020-21 season.

Rights to the Dutch Basketball League are currently held by pay-television broadcaster Ziggo Sport, also in a deal that expires at the end of this season. The DBL also runs its own streaming platform in partnership with Genius Sports.