Bolivian FA to press ahead with new domestic sales process after annulling tender
The FBF, the Bolivian soccer federation, has cancelled its domestic broadcast rights tender, but insisted it will launch a new process despite a number of top-flight División Profesional clubs wanting to break from the collective agreement and market their rights individually.
The domestic sales process for the 2021 to 2024 cycle has been suspended since March because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the FBF executive committee has now decided to end the process entirely, with a new call to broadcasters to be made next week.
The 14 División Profesional clubs had called on the FBF to annul the tender at a meeting on 5 June, at the time unanimously backing a 10-year, $100-million proposal from Marcelo Claure, the American-Bolivian businessman, who owns Club Bolivar, the country's most successful club.
The FBF has stated that it will not entertain such a long contract, and is targeting between $40 million to $45 million from a new four-year contract. That more than doubles the $4.1 million per annum that SportTV Rights, the Bolivian agency, pays in its deal with the FBF that expires at the end of this year.
The federation has refused to entertain Claure's bid, but has invited him to participate in an official tender.
Bolivar, Wilstermann, Blooming and Oriente Petrolero, four of the biggest five clubs in the league, have said they will not participate in the centralised broadcast rights tender, preferring to market their own rights (and subsequently deal with Claure).
The Strongest, the other club in the big five, have yet to comment publicly on their preference, while smaller clubs Guabirá and Royal Pari said they also want to go with Claure, as have Real Santa Cruz and Real Potosi, albeit none have outright threatened to withdraw from the FBF tender.
The FBF claims to have legal rights to control the División Profesional's media rights from 2021 and last month got the backing from Fifa on that stance.
In a letter to the FBF, Emilio Garcia Silvero, Fifa's chief legal and compliance director, wrote: "Fifa, its member federations and their confederations shall be the original owners of all competition rights and other acts emanating from their respective jurisdictions, without any restriction as regards content, time, place or legislation.
"These rights include, among others, all types of property rights, audiovisual recording and broadcasting, multimedia, promotional, marketing and marketing."
Particular focus was given to Article 85 of the FBF statutes, which states that the executive committee is empowered to decide "how and to what extent these rights will be used and to what extent they will be exercised, having the exclusive power to authorise the distribution and marketing of images, audio and other rights..."
Ten companies responded to the original invitation to tender earlier this year: SportTV Rights, US media giants ESPN and Turner, Bolivian telecoms firms and broadcasters Comteco, Entel, Cotel, Unitel, Tigo Sport and Ceo Nexus Sport, and Gol TV, the pay-television operator owned by Tenfield, the Uruguayan agency.