Globo rips up Rio state championship contract over Flamengo dispute
Globo, the Brazilian commercial broadcasting giant, has terminated its contract to show games from the Campeonato Carioca, the Rio de Janeiro state soccer championship, because of a dispute with Flamengo.
Flamengo, one of the country’s most iconic clubs, showed Wednesday's 2-0 win against Boavista in the competition on their YouTube channel FlaTV, in a move which Globo has claimed contravenes its rights agreement with the other 15 clubs in the Carioca.
While Globo will now not broadcast the tournament’s remaining matches, it will make its 2020 payments to the clubs involved in full, according to a statement.
Even though Globo does not have a deal in place for Flamengo’s games in that competition, its position has always been that it is the only domestic broadcaster with rights to show any games from the Carioca.
Its agreement with the FERJ, the Rio state soccer federation, and all but one of the clubs in the competition ran to 2024.
Flamengo was intent on showing the match on FlaTV after Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro on 18 June signed a provisional measure stating that rights to a soccer match in Brazil now rest with the home team, representing a break with the Pelé Law of 1998, which decreed that both participating teams needed to be in agreement for it to be televised live.
Globo, however, has insisted that the new measure should not impact on existing deals, noting: “Globo understands that the provisional measure could not alter a contract entered into prior to its creation, and protected by the constitution.”
Both sides approached the courts to clarify the situation before Wednesday’s fixture, and the authorities duly rejected Globo’s request for an injunction to stop the match being transmitted on FlaTV, meaning there was no legal basis for its complaint.
After Flamengo broadcast its match against Boavista, Globo therefore informed FERJ that “it will no longer broadcast the Carioca Championship… In our understanding, the contract was violated.”
The broadcaster continued: “At the time of signing the contract… Brazilian law provided that it was necessary to obtain the rights of both clubs involved for the transmission of any match. Legally, nobody could broadcast Flamengo’s games in Carioca, and only Globo could broadcast the others.”
It added: “Despite the decision to terminate the contract immediately, Globo is ready to make the remaining payments this season, in the name of its historic partnership with football and its good relationship with the teams.”
The match was one of the first professional fixtures to be played in Brazil since the soccer season resumed last month, after a delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and reportedly secured the highest peak audience for a soccer match only shown online, with 2.2 million people tuning in.
Shown across all the club’s social media sites including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, the game reportedly attracted in the region of 14 million unique users.
Flamengo sold sponsorship rights to the game to several companies, including Brahma, the local beer brand, which placed advertisements on-screen.
Additional sponsorship revenue was generated through adverts from before and after the game, as well as at half-time, while the club also secured revenue through having the game broadcast overseas on MyCujoo, the international soccer streaming platform.
In addition, Flamengo set up an online donation page, where fans made payments of however much they thought was fair in exchange for following the match live.
It is expected that Flamengo will broadcast their next match, a semi-final from the Campeonato Carioca, in the same manner.
The club is one of the most popular in Brazil, claiming to have between 30 million and 35 million fans, and won the treble of Carioca, Campeonato Brasileiro and South America's Copa Libertadores in 2019.
Elsewhere, rivals Santos have signed a one-year sponsorship deal with Foxlux, a brand specialising in domestic appliances.
Foxlux will have its logo present on the back of Santos’ match shirts, below the players’ number, across all domestic competitions between now and June 2021.
The company will also have visibility across interview backdrops at the club’s Urbano Caldeira home stadium, and at the training ground, while it will also make its presence felt throughout the club’s online and social media channels.
For the Copa Libertadores, the Foxlux logo will give way to that of Famastil, one of Foxlux’s subsidiary brands.
José Carlos Peres, president of Santos, said: “We welcome Foxlux to the largest Brazilian club… We strongly believe in the potential of this partnership, and we hope it will make a difference in helping the group achieve its brand and business recognition goals.”