Fox: We're not sharing Latin American rights with OTT platform Sportflix
By Simon Ward
Fox Sports Latin America, the regional arm of the international sports broadcaster, has categorically denied conducting negotiations with Sportflix, a new over-the-top streaming platform based in Mexico, to share coverage of competitions and events for which it holds rights.
Fox went further in saying that it had "no knowledge" of the company and had "not established any contact with them."
Sportflix, which is being marketed as a ‘Netflix of sports’ is set to launch in Mexico and beyond on 30 August and is pledging coverage of domestic soccer leagues and cup competitions from Mexico, Argentina, USA and Europe, plus continental competitions such as South America’s Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana and Europe’s Champions League and Europa League on platforms including televisions, computers, tablets and phones.
There are also plans for other sports, including American football, basketball, ice hockey, golf and tennis.
The pricing ranges from $19.99 for use on two screens to $24.99 on five screens to $29.99 on eight screens.
However, there is confusion over the live streaming Sportflix will be permitted to offer given the broadcasting rights agreements already in place in Latin America, and reports of possible legal action if these are breached.
For instance, Fox presently holds rights across the region to the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana in a deal running from 2016 to 2018.
Fox has also teamed up with another USA-based broadcasting giant Turner to land the domestic live rights to Argentina’s new top-tier Superliga in a deal worth 17.5 billion pesos ($988 million) over five years, which comes into effect for the forthcoming season and will entail most matches being shown on pay-television platforms.
It refutes claims of any talks with Sportflix, and maintains that Fox has exclusive or co-exclusive rights to many of the properties the OTT platform is promoting
In a statement, it said: "Fox Sports Latin America categorically denies having been or being in conversations or negotiations whatsoever regarding our sports rights with the company Sportflix. We have no knowledge whatever of this company and have not established any contact with them.
“It is important to point out that most of the properties broadcasted on Fox Sports in Latin America are exclusive and will remain so for the benefit of the 61 million subscribers and homes in 19 countries that choose us every day through our multiple TV platforms or digitally on Fox Sports App.
“Fox Sports Latin America broadcasts content including the Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores, Bridgestone, Copa CONMEBOL Sudamericana Sudamericana, Liga de Campeones CONCACAF, the Bundesliga, NFL, MLB, WWE, UFC. Premier Boxing Champions, NASCAR, Dakar Rally, Formula 1, Formula E, the Italian Serie A TIM and UEFA Champions League, among others.
“Fox Sports Latin America works together with the owners of these contents to take all the necessary actions towards protecting our products from piracy and the illegal use of those rights.”
The plans of Sportflix, which has been developed by Mexican-Argentinian businessman Matías Said, came to light last month and 40,000 people have already pre-registered for its services.
In an interview with Milenio TV in Mexico, Said is quoted saying: “Within football we will have local level leagues in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, USA, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, England, Copa del Rey [in Spain], Copa Italia [in Italy], Copa MX [in Mexico], Copa Argentina, [England’s] FA Cup, Supercopa de Italia [Italian Super Cup] Supercopa de Espana [Spanish Super Cup] and some pre-season friendlies.
“And at continental level: Libertadores, Sudamericana, Champions League, Europa League, World Club Championship and Concacaf championships.”
Fox’s statement came as it emerged that rules had been laid down for the post-match streaming of highlights from the new Superliga.
The clubs will be permitted to offer 30-second clips totalling no more than five minutes on their platforms from two hours after the final whistle, according to Argentinian newspaper La Nación.
The content will be made available by Fox and Turner and the clubs cannot add their own advertising.
The 28-team Superliga is due to kick off on 25 August, a week later than originally planned, and the rights-holders have agreed that all matches will be shown free of charge until at least the end of September on the Fox Sports and TNT channels.
This is to ensure a smooth transition from the previous arrangement under which all top-flight games were shown live and for free on state-owned television channels.
The premium package comprising all 14 games per round in high definition, complemented by support programming throughout the day, will be available on the Fox Sports Premium and TNT Sports channels and cost 300 pesos per month.