SportTV Rights to meet FBF's $45m target but wants all 14 teams on board
SportTV Rights, the agency that controls the broadcasting rights to Bolivian soccer's División Profesional, is ready to bid the desired sum of $45 million to retain the contract, but wants assurances that all 14 top-flight sides would be included in the deal.
The FBF, the Bolivian soccer federation, launched its domestic tender on 16 July with a deadline of 10 August set for bids for media rights to the División Profesional and second-tier División Amateur from 2021 to 2024.
The FBF is seeking a minimum of $45 million, or $11.25 million per season, over the course of the contract.
Sport TV Rights pays $4.1 million per year for the league rights in a deal running to the end of 2020, and has a matching clause that expires on 1 November.
However, with six clubs - Bolivar, Wilstermann, Oriente Petrolero, Blooming, Guabirá and Royal Pari - having formed 'Unidos por el Fútbol' ('United for Soccer') as they bid to control their own rights and vowing not to participate in the collective FBF tender, doubts have been raised as to the true value of the rights on offer.
José Quiroga, chief executive of SportTV Rights, said that ahead of Monday's deadline, the agency is "willing to pay $45 million for four years," but that the agency "will timely analyse" the situation in the event that the aforementioned six clubs are not included in the offer.
He said: "The public offer, in the terms of reference, does not speak of the names of clubs, it speaks of the games and the championship. We will analyse it in due course. Because if you can buy 364 games, it is understood that they are the 14 clubs, all against all."
Quiroga called for dialogue with the directors of the six clubs that are part of Unidos por el Fútbol, adding: "I think we should all come to our senses and hope everyone participates. I think that other companies interested in rights are interested in having the 14 clubs."
Last month, Unidos por el Fútbol hired the respected Spanish sports lawyer Juan de Dios Crespo to help their cause.
The six clubs want to proceed with a deal worth a reported $100 million over 10 years from Marcelo Claure, owner of Bolivar, but the FBF rejected that offer, claiming it did not want to sell its rights for such a long period of time.
The FBF claims to have legal rights to control the División Profesional's media rights from 2021, and in June received backing from Fifa on that stance.
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 before the coronavirus pandemic stalled the process -- 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.