Friday, 12 August 2022

Entain to Acquire SuperSport? 920m EUR Sale Likely for Largest Croatian Betting Company

August 12, 2022 - British betting group Entain has announced that it intends to buy 75 percent of SuperSport - the largest Croatian betting company and the title sponsor of the strongest class of Croatian club football - for 920 million euros. 

SuperSport, which has a sponsorship contract with the Croatian Football Federation, and after which the strongest rank of domestic football, i.e., the national cup, is called, is the largest Croatian sports bookmaker. With a 54 percent market share and strong growth in the last five years, it is the market leader, reports Jutarnji List

SuperSport was founded by Danko Ćorić, has been operating on the Croatian market since 2000, and currently has 321 branches, half of which are in Zagreb, Split, and the surroundings of Croatia's two largest cities. It is necessary to add its online betting offer to the network of SuperSport branches because online betting is becoming more and more common, and in 2019 it was additionally regulated in Croatia by banning the provision of online sports betting services to companies that are not based in Croatia. They have about 900 employees.

In May this year, they signed a contract worth 44 million euros with the Croatian Football Federation and Hrvatski Telekom on distributing television and marketing rights to the First Croatian Football League. In addition, SuperSport has committed to investing eight million euros for the marketing and betting rights of Prva HNL from 2022 to 2026. From this season, the First HNL is called SuperSport HNL.

In 2020, Supersport achieved 131 million euros in gross revenue from games and an underlying profit of 65 million euros. The work is expected to be completed in the last quarter of this year and will depend primarily on regulatory approvals. Radim Haluza, CEO of SuperSport, should then join the board of Entain.

Since 2018, SuperSport has been owned by the Czech SAZKA Group. Shortly after the takeover of SuperSport, there was a split and division of assets between two entrepreneurs, Karel Komarek and Jiri Šmejc. After the split with Komarek, SuperSport belonged to Šmejc, i.e., his company EMMA GAMMA Adriatic. Šmejc is one of the largest Czech entrepreneurs in terms of income, the number of companies he owns, and the businesses he covers. At the beginning of his business development, he collaborated with Peter Kellner, until his untimely death in March of last year, the largest businessman in Central Europe whose wealth was estimated at 17.5 billion dollars.

Since 2012, when he became independent, Šmejc has acquired companies, in addition to sports betting and gambling, in energy, financial services, and e-commerce, among others. In addition to business cooperation, Šmejc and Kellner also shared a common passion - flying airplanes. 

To make the best use of the opportunity in the mentioned geographical area, the Entain group has partnered with EMMA Capital, an investment company based in the Czech Republic. EMMA was previously part of the Sazka Group - owners of Allwyn - which recently won the next UK Lottery license and was the sole owner of SuperSport. Entain and EMMA Capital entered into a partnership and founded Entain CEE, which will own SuperSport. In the newly established Entain CEE, 75% of the shares will be held by Entain and 25% by EMMA.

Central and Eastern Europe represent a very attractive and growing betting market - the estimated value of which is five billion euros. They also recognized this potential in Entain and believe it will grow at least 10% annually until 2025. Entain said that in Central and Eastern Europe, in the context of betting, so far, local operators have largely dominated, who "often fought to increase or consolidate across the region, thus providing a convincing opportunity for Entain."

"I look forward to joining Entain and further building on this region's significant opportunity. EMMA's investment expertise combined with Entain's world-class platform will give us a competitive advantage in providing opportunities," said Haluza.

The Times writes that Entain's purchase is part of a strategy to target more than 50 regulated markets - with a combined betting industry revenue of $40 billion - where it has yet to establish a presence. The company also announced four other transactions by the end of the year, including the purchase of Dutch Avid Gaming for EUR 206 million and BetCity for EUR 850 million. A turning point in their business occurred when Jette Nygaard Andersen (53) became the executive director of Entain - in 20 months of her managing the company, nine new deals were concluded.

"We are excited to have created Entain CEE with EMMA, to support our strategy throughout the Central and Eastern European region, and to have acquired a leading betting and gaming operator in the highly attractive and fully regulated Croatian market. We see Croatia as an exciting, dynamic country, from which Entain CEE is perfectly positioned for expansion," said Nygaard-Andersen on the occasion of the latest acquisition.

Entain, formerly GVC Holdings, operates in 31 countries and employs more than 25 thousand workers in 20 offices on five continents. Last year they had revenues of £3.9bn with an operating profit of £480m.

For more on business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Monday, 18 July 2022

SuperSport HNL Round 1: Dinamo, Rijeka, Osijek, Hajduk Open New Season with Wins

July 18, 2022 - The new Croatian football season opened on July 15 after a month of preparations. A look at the SuperSport HNL round 1 results. 

Dinamo v. Lokomotiva (3:2)

Dinamo and Lokomotiva opened the first round on Friday, July 15, at Maksimir Stadium in front of 4,320 fans. 

Kulenovic and Ibrahim put Lokomotiva ahead by two goals by the 22nd minute, though it didn't last long. Dinamo subbed on Drmic, who scored two goals in the next 10 minutes for 2:2 at the half. Maric was shown a red card in the 78th minute, forcing Lokomotiva to play with a man down for the remainder of the match. Menalo scored in the 91st minute for the final 3:2 Dinamo. 

 

Dinamo is currently in 2nd place with 3 points, while Lokomotiva is in 6th with 0. 

Osijek v. Gorica (2:1)

Osijek and Gorica met on Saturday, July 16, at City Garden Stadium in front of 3,590 fans. 

While the first half went without goals, Beljo scored for 1:0 Osijek in the 62nd minute. A Loncar own goal made it 1:1 four minutes later. Beljo put Osijek back in the lead for 2:1 with a penalty in the 74th minute. Lokomotiva's Julardzija was shown a red card in the 86th minute.

 

Osijek is currently in 3rd place with 3 points, while Gorica is in 7th with 0. 

Sibenik v. Rijeka (0:1)

Sibenik and Rijeka met in Sibenik on Saturday, July 16, in front of 1,678 fans. 

The first half went without goals, and the match's only goal came in the 74th minute when Obregon scored for 0:1. 

 

Sibenik is currently in 8th place with 0 points, while Rijeka is in 4th with 3. 

Varazdin v. Slaven Belupo (0:1)

Varazdin and Slaven Belupo met in Varazdin on Sunday, July 17. 

The match's only goal came in the 49th minute when Kocijan scored for 0:1 Belupo. 

 

Varazdin is currently in 9th place with 0 points, while Belupo is in 5th with 3. 

Istra 1961 v. Hajduk (0:2)

Istra and Hajduk closed out the first round in Pula on Sunday, July 17. 

Interestingly, it was announced before the match that the VAR system was out of order because there was no electricity in the VAR room, meaning the match would go on without using VAR. 

Melnjak scored Hajduk's first goal for 0:1 in the 43rd minute. Livaja increased Hajduk's lead to 0:2 off a header in the 60th minute. 

 

Istra is currently in last place with 0 points, while Hajduk is in first place with 3 points. 

*Rijeka and Hajduk will not play in the 2nd round next weekend as Rijeka asked that the match be postponed due to Conference League obligations. 

You can see the standings HERE.

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Friday, 8 July 2022

Hajduk and Dinamo Prepare for SuperSport Superkup at Maksimir on Saturday

July 8, 2022 - Hajduk and Dinamo will meet in the SuperSport Superkup match at Maksimir Stadium at 20:00 on Saturday.

At the first official press conference this season, Hajduk coach Valdas Dambrauskas and striker Nikola Kalinić gave their views on the upcoming match and answered numerous questions.

The Hajduk coach first reflected on the recent preparations in which four games were played against strong rivals:

"We are satisfied with our preparations; we have fulfilled the set goals and played matches against solid rivals. Therefore, in the pre-season, I don't worry about results, we are focused on progress, and I am sure the team will be at the right level soon. We also brought in a new player during the preparations; he played in a strong league, he plays in the style we want to play, and he is fast and will get in shape in a few games.

The season is just starting, the game will undoubtedly be challenging for both teams, and I think derbies are rarely attractive. Both teams will try to limit each other, and I think a moment of individual quality will decide the game. We have prepared well for this match, and we want to prove to everyone that we are ready," said the coach of Hajduk.

Asked about the expectations for the next season and the importance of support from the stands, striker Nikola Kalinić said:

"We play for the biggest Croatian club, and we have to fight for every trophy. Last year we won the Cup and were second; we are expected to be in a higher position this season. There are many games ahead of us; others have the same goals, and we can only promise the fans that we will do our best. Our fans are the best in the country and show it at every game. There will certainly be a lot of them in Zagreb, and I hope that we will repay them on the field, and in the end, we will all celebrate together," concluded Kalinić.

Dinamo Zagreb is also ready and presented their new jersey before the Superkup against Hajduk. Arijan Ademi, Josip Drmić, Luka Ivanušec, and Dario Špikić appeared in front of the press on Friday. 

"We went through a lot of difficult preparations, worked hard, and are satisfied with how it all ended. We hope to be successful in the new season," said captain Ademi and revealed the expectations for the new season.

"It's just the beginning of the season, and it's hard to predict how the championship will end. Anyway, we'll do our best not to make it so dramatic. I hope we will be good and win the championship."

Ademi spoke about Dinamo's new additions - forward Josip Drmić and midfielder Robert Ljubičić.

"Both are excellent. We already saw last season what kind of player Drmić is, a real 'killer.' Ljubičić already showed us that he is a great player. They will be reinforcements for sure", concluded Ademi.

Drmić had a very good last season in Rijeka. He was the club's top scorer, but the expectations are even higher at Dinamo. 

"It's hard to say what awaits us against Hajduk; I hope it will be a good match. The derby is already at the start; it will show where we are and what form we are. I'm looking forward to the match; we'll be ready," said Drmić.

"I'm not thinking about the goal; the most important thing is that we win and present ourselves well in the new shirt. If I manage to score, it will be great."

Bruno Petković will be his biggest competitor for that position. 

"Bruno is a top player and top quality. He is one of the best players on our team. I think we can present ourselves well as a tandem. We complement each other well, each has his qualities, and we can make a good mix. The coach will decide whether we will play together, but we will certainly do our best."

Drmić is aware of the pressure at Dinamo and the high expectations.

"I always say that I work best under pressure. So it is important that teammates help, and then we will handle it well in the future and be successful if we work together," concluded Drmić.

After several months of problems with his abdominal wall, Luka Ivanušec is fully ready for the new season. He commented on the speculation that he could leave Dinamo in the summer transfer window.

"At the moment, I am focused only on Dinamo, and there are always stories and interests. I'm preparing for the season as if I'm staying at Dinamo, and then we'll see what happens."

Dario Špikić said that Dinamo had prepared well for the new season.

"We are ready for Hajduk; I believe in victory," said Špikić.

To read more about sports in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

 

Wednesday, 29 June 2022

SuperSport HNL: New Name Given to Croatia's Top Football League

June 29, 2022 - The highest rank of Croatian football will be called SuperSport Croatian Football League, or SuperSport HNL, from next season. 

After signing a contract on marketing rights and betting rights for matches owned by the Croatian Football Federation in May, SuperSport has taken over the title sponsorship of the Croatian Football League for the 2022/23 season, which begins on July 15, reports HNS

The new visual identity and logo of the league were also presented, and the leaders of SuperSport and HNS are satisfied with the cooperation.

“We are extremely honored to be the title sponsor of the SuperSport Croatian Football League. The last season of Croatian football has never been more interesting, and I believe that the SuperSport HNL will exceed all expectations," said SuperSport Management Board member Goran Đurić.

"The goal of SuperSport as a market leader is to continue investing in the development of Croatian football, which shows its strength and progress from season to season. I am firmly convinced that the new season of all domestic football competitions will be the best so far, especially the SuperSport HNL," added SuperSport Management Board member Radim Haluza.

"We can freely say that this summer we are entering a new era of Croatian club football. We have signed a record contract for TV and marketing rights, we have returned the competition to the popular name Croatian Football League, the matches will be shown on the new HT platform, and some of the matches will be shown on HRT. Now we have the full name of the league and a new visual identity thanks to SuperSport, and I am sure that we all share the intense anticipation of the beginning of the SuperSport HNL new season and that, in addition to commercial and marketing development, we will witness the continued raised quality of our football league," said HNS president Marijan Kustić.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

HNS, Hrvatski Telekom, and SuperSport Sign Historic Croatian Football Contract

May 4, 2022 - A historic Croatian football contract was signed today by the Croatian Football Federation, Hrvatski Telekom, and SuperSport. 

Today in Zagreb, the leaders of the Croatian Football Federation, Hrvatski Telekom, and SuperSport signed an agreement on television and marketing rights for matches under the auspices of the Croatian Football Federation, announced HNS.

The contract signing ceremony by which Hrvatski Telekom became the owner of television and SuperSport marketing rights for matches owned by the Croatian Football Federation was organized in the Opera Hall of the Westin Hotel in Zagreb. Contracts run from the beginning of the 2022/23 competition year until the end of the 2025/26 competition year.

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HNS

It is the most valuable agreement for television and marketing rights in the history of domestic club football. During the four contracted years, Hrvatski Telekom will invest EUR 36 million for television rights, while SuperSport will invest a total of EUR 8 million for marketing and betting rights. The Croatian Football Federation has thus provided 44 million euros in four years for domestic football.

"I thank the present management of Hrvatski Telekom and SuperSport for their trust and the respect they have shown for such a significant investment in domestic football. We are especially pleased to sign such vital contracts with companies that are proven friends and partners of Croatian football, which gives us additional faith that together, we will make our First League but also other competitions even stronger, more attractive, and better.

It is unnecessary to emphasize how much these funds will mean for our first leagues and other clubs in Croatia - this is the most crucial contract related to domestic club football in history and confirms its market value. I am sure that this value will continue to grow thanks to this agreement and that this significant investment will pay off for our partners as well," said HNS President Marijan Kustić.

"I am delighted to continue our long-term cooperation with HNS. We always strive to provide our customers with the best sports content, and Croatian football falls into that category because it is about content close to the fans of all Croatian clubs. With our renewed four-year partnership with HNS, we are laying the foundations for the further development of Croatian football clubs, to enjoy even more competitive competition and better matches in production and on the leading pay-TV platform in Croatia," said the President of the Management Board of Hrvatski Telekom Kostas Nebis, while the member of the Management Board Nataša Rapaić added:

"Croatia is a sports nation in which football has a special status and significance, and the Croatian Football League has never been so interesting. We are pleased that HT can convey this excitement and positive emotions to the Croatian audience. We stand for these values as a company - connectivity, positivity, and creating new opportunities."

SuperSport has become the owner of marketing and betting rights, and satisfaction with the signed contract was expressed by a member of the SuperSport Management Board, Goran Đurić:

"We are proud that SuperSport has become a direct partner of Croatian football, in which we have invested significantly before. I believe we all agree that our football league has never been more interesting, and we are convinced that this agreement will allow further development of clubs and domestic competitions. We trust HNS, and we are looking forward to working with the Federation and Hrvatski Telekom on the further marketing, commercial, and media development of domestic football."

"Football is the most popular, important, and most-watched sport in Croatia. The First League is equally watched and important to both spectators and our players as the strongest football competitions in the world, such as the Champions League. That is why we are thrilled that today we signed such a valuable contract that will enable our football to continue to grow, which is visible by all criteria. We are proud to provide our players with the highest quality content as market leaders," added SuperSport Board Member Radim Haluza.

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HNS

"For HNS, and especially Croatian clubs, the contract we signed today is truly of historical importance. I want to thank our partners, Hrvatski Telekom and SuperSport, for their trust and congratulate all clubs that have raised the level of quality and the curiosity of the competition to the level that we can sign a contract like this. An important role in increasing the league's attractiveness was played by HNS's first league turf project, which shows that for all of us - clubs, federations, and local communities - further development of stadium infrastructure should be a strategic determinant so that the value of our 'product' continues to grow," HNS Executive Director Tomislav Svetina emphasized.

After signing the contract, the leaders of HNS handed over one home and one reserve jersey of the 2018 World Cup finalists to the leaders of Hrvatski Telekom and SuperSport with the numbers 2022 and 2026, which together show the duration of the contract signed today.

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