Fox, Turner and BeIN 'on shortlist' to acquire Chilean soccer channel
A takeover of Canal del Fútbol, the soccer broadcaster majority-owned by the ANFP, the Chilean football association, looks to be on the cards again following reports in the country that international networks Fox Sports Latin America, Turner and BeIN Media Group have been shortlisted as bidders.
It is claimed that the three broadcasters have tabled non-binding offers of up to $1 billion.
It has been reported that ESPN, the US sports broadcaster, and Univision, the US Spanish-language broadcaster, also expressed interest.
The ANFP has an 80-per-cent stake in CdF, which has rights to the Chilean league, with the remaining holding belonging to a group of investors headed up by Chilean businessman Jorge Claro, who founded the broadcaster.
Edgar Spielmann, vice-president of Fox Sports Latin America, confirmed to Chilean newspaper La Tercera that the broadcaster had lodged its interest in acquiring the channel.
He said: "We are interested in the Football Channel and yes, we would like to obtain the rights of the national championship. We are the best positioned to take the local league to another level, the soccer TV shows we do with previous programmes, post games.
"We would contribute as no one to the internationalisation of Chilean football... we would give showcase to the players, the clubs and the league, and that helps to sell better players.
“The Premium Football Channel is in less than 1 million homes. We have a huge league promotion capacity... we would help to massify Chilean football, the league, the national championship, the clubs but also make the product more available.”
In 2015, Fox launched an offer to buy the channel for $190 million and to pay the ANFP 45 billion pesos (then $63 million) every 12 months for a period of 20 years in exchange for the league’s media rights. The offer also stipulated that Fox would pay the clubs’ bank debts, update the administrative structure of the league and modernise the television coverage of the game, using the Dutch Eredivisie, which boasts 12-camera coverage of every match, as the model.
Fox’s decision had left BeIN alone in the race to buy CdF, but a large number of clubs, including two of the biggest, Colo Colo and Universidad de Chile, preferred the Fox deal to BeIN’s proposal, which involved a one-off payment of $1.3 billion for a complete buyout of the broadcaster, including the media rights to the league.