Brazilian clubs 'accept shorter, if less lucrative, international rights option'
Brazil’s top soccer clubs are reported to have accepted an offer from domestic agency Sport Promotion and its overseas partner Ecotonian for the international broadcasting rights to the elite Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A.
If the deal goes through, it will be worth R$637 million ($169 million) over four years, or R$159 million per annum, with each top flight club to receive R$7.2 million per year, and the remaining 10 per cent to go to Serie B teams, according to the UOL portal.
The Brazilian clubs are said to have rejected a more lucrative bid from the international fund Prudent, which was offering R$2.3 billion over 10 years, or R$230 million per annum.
It is understood that the offer Sport Promotion and Ecotonian, a UK-Swiss investment fund, made to the CBF, the Brazilian soccer confederation, was preferred because it was of a shorter length, and, unlike that from Prudent, did not come with extra signature and exclusivity requirements.
There is reported to be an option to extend the agreed contract to 10 years, with an overall value of $460 million, but the clubs favour a short-term arrangement in the belief that the value of the international rights will increase significantly in the next few seasons.
However, the Sport Promotion-Ecotonian deal has yet to be confirmed, and is subject to payments and final guarantees, meaning that the CBF and the clubs could yet go back to Prudent.
There is a degree of circumspection after an international rights deal was reached with a new company, BRnews, last year, only to fall through due in part to missed payments.
BRnews, headed up by Alexandre Grendene, a billionaire businessman, Caio Cesar Vieira Rocha, the former president of the Superior Court of Sports Justice (STJD), and Patricia Coelho, was reported to have offered up to R$550 million over four years for the free-to-air, pay-TV and streaming rights to the matches of all 20 clubs.
The bid was also said to include the perimeter advertising rights of 18 of the clubs, the exceptions being leading teams Flamengo and Corinthians, which would negotiate deals for their own home games.
Earlier this month, the CBF appointed Sport Promotion and Ecotonian to sell perimeter advertising at matches in the Campeonato Brasileiro for the next five years.
On the domestic TV front, there remains an impasse over rights to the matches of reigning champions Palmeiras and Athletico Paranaense meaning that, as things stand, 52 of the 380 Serie A matches will not be televised in 2019.
The two clubs have sold pay-TV rights to Esporte Interativo, the broadcaster owned by Turner Latin America, but have still not agreed separate deals with commercial broadcaster Globo, which operates the SporTV subscription channel.
Rules in Brazil lay down that a league match can only be televised when the two teams have deals with the same broadcaster.
The new Serie A season is due to kick off on 28 April.
Globo’s previous domestic three-year agreement for the cross-platform rights to the Campeonato Brasileiro expired at the end of the 2018 season. It was worth R$1.37 billion per year to the 20 top-tier clubs.
Globo also held the international rights to the top flight in a deal that concluded at the end of 2018, but the league and clubs are thought to have been eager to extract better value from the overseas market.
• The new Brazilian arm of DAZN, the international over-the-top sports streaming platform, is reported to have shown an interest in the Fox Sports channels up for sale in the country.
US entertainment giant Walt Disney has agreed to sell the channels as a condition of its $71-billion acquisition of the majority of the film and television assets of fellow media titan 21st Century Fox, which was concluded on Wednesday.
CADE, the Brazilian antitrust regulator, approved the takeover within its market on the grounds that Fox Sports was sold off as Disney already owns rival sports broadcaster ESPN, and its combined market share would therefore be as much as 40 per cent.
The Fox Sports business is attractive because it has extensive rights in Brazil to the Copa Libertadores, South America’s top soccer clubs competition, rights to various European competitions, and a comprehensive broadcasting set-up in Rio de Janeiro.
DAZN is poised to launch its OTT service in Brazil, but, while it is interested in Fox Sports, CADE’s requirement that the channels remain pay-TV means that it is seeking a partner with knowledge in the sector before it will invest, according to UOL.
DAZN has declined to comment on the report.
It is claimed that Brazilian commercial broadcaster Rede TV! has also shown interest in Fox Sports, but does not want to invest by itself either.
DAZN and Rede TV! have already teamed up in a sub-licensing deal under which the latter is showing a selection of matches from the Copa Sudamericana, South America’s secondary clubs competition, and Italy’s Serie A, Brazilian rights to which are held by DAZN.
DAZN has yet to formally launch in Brazil, which will be its ninth market, but has been showing games from the Copa Sudamericana, Serie A and the Coppa Italia, France’s Ligue 1 and England’s FA Cup on its Facebook and YouTube pages on a free-to-view basis.
In addition to its coverage of the Copa Libertadores, Fox Sports has exclusive rights to the Copa do Nordeste, the competition involving clubs from north-east Brazil, Germany’s Bundesliga, Argentina’s Superliga, the French Cup and Europe’s Europa League.
Meanwhile, DAZN’s new Spanish service has added to its portfolio with the acquisition of rights to several sports events, it has been reported.
The new additions include the Superstars of Gymnastics in London this weekend, the World Pool Masters in Gibraltar on 29 to 31 March and the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield in the UK on 20 April to 6 May, according to the Palco23 website.
DAZN went live in Spain at the end of February with live coverage of soccer, motorsports, basketball, boxing and UFC among various sports, and what is intended to be an appealing price point of €4.99 ($5.70) per month.