Fox Sports renews Copa Libertadores rights as fan violence mars final
Fox Sports Latin America, the regional broadcaster, will continue showing the Copa Libertadores for another four seasons, with the contract renewal coming on the weekend that the climax to
The new deal, which runs from 2019 to 2022, was agreed with FC Diez Media, the joint venture set up at the start of the year on the back of IMG and DAZN Group’s acquisition of broadcast and sponsorship rights to the Conmebol club competitions in a four-year contract worth a minimum guarantee of $1.4 billion.
Fox Sports will show the matches across its TV channels, and via the Fox Sports app and on foxsportsla.com.
In Brazil, Fox Sports will telecast 67 live matches each season, including the final, which will revert to a one-off game at a neutral venue from 2019.
In the rest of South America, Fox Sports will offer 128 live matches and will be the only media group broadcasting the final live and exclusively on TV.
Carlos Martínez, president of Fox Networks Group Latin America, said: “The Copa Conmebol Libertadores is the most prestigious football club tournament in this continent followed by millions of fans. Fox Sports has been and will continue to be the home of this tournament. We are very happy that we have renewed these rights and that we will continue to broadcast the Copa Conmebol Libertadores live, both on TV and via streaming, adding our own unique production standards to each broadcast.”
There is still no guarantee when, or if, the second leg of the 2018 final between Buenos Aires rivals River Plate and Boca Juniors will be played.
An attack on the Boca bus on Saturday afternoon as it was nearing River's stadium forced the game to be delayed by 24 hours, with a number of Boca players taken to hospital, having suffered cuts from the glass from broken windows and been affected by tear gas used by police to disperse crowds.
However, the game was postponed again three hours before yesterday's planned 5pm (local time) kick-off, following a request from Boca to Conmebol that their players were not in the right frame of mind to play.
Boca said in a statement: "Club Atletico Boca Juniors made a formal presentation to Conmebol on Sunday to request that the final of the Copa Libertadores be played in conditions of equality.
"After the acts of violence suffered in the vicinity of the stadium, having noted the magnitude and seriousness of them and the consequences they have generated in the establishment, Boca considers that these conditions are not met and requests the suspension of the match."
Following the postponement, Alejandro Dominguez, president of Conmebol, said: "Conmebol sympathises with the players, their families and all those affected. What should have been a sporting event to live, enjoy and share the best of South American football became a shame.
“Conmebol condemns the violent and criminal acts that put lives at risk, attacked the livelihood of professional athletes, affected millions of good fans and embarrassed their club, their football, their country and their continent.
“Conmebol demands from the competent authorities' immediate action and offers all its collaboration to identify, capture and prosecute those responsible. These acts cannot go unpunished. Those responsible must be burdened with the full weight of the law and the rejection of society.”
Scheduling the second-leg is further complicated by the fact Buenos Aires will host the G20 Summit next weekend, putting the city on a high security alert.
The first-leg of the final two weeks ago was also postponed by 24 hours due to torrential rain that rendered the pitch at Boca's La Bombonera unplayable.
That game, which finished 2-2, was the second-most watched programme of the year in Argentina for Fox Sports Latin America, registering 43 ratings points and reaching 3.1 million people.
For the Copa Libertadores, it represented Fox Sports' biggest audience since 2010.
Altogether, the match was watched by 7 million people South America, according to Kantar research.