Bolivian clubs express ‘total disagreement’ with Sports TV rights deal

Eight clubs playing in the top flight of domestic Bolivian football have written to the Bolivian Football Federation (FBF), expressing concern over the scope of the Sports TV Rights agency’s successful bid for the league’s media rights.

The clubs – known collectively as the ‘G8’ – have demanded two G8 presidents be present at final negotiations in order to understand what the deal encompasses.

The eight clubs are The Strongest, Always Ready, San José, Nacional Potosí, Real Potosí, Atlético Palmaflor, Aurora and Real Santa Cruz.

The G8’s letter, as published in the Pagina Siete newspaper, said: “We took the following measure: not to accept any contract made by the [FBF] executive committee with the company that would have been awarded the television rights, expressing our total disagreement as long as we are not taken into account in the award commission.”

The concerns were submitted in a letter to the FBF and Sports TV Rights director José Quiroga has reportedly accepted the clubs are “partly right” and deserve a seat at the table.

Sports TV Rights emerged victorious after a hotly-contested tender process. The agency was awarded the FBF rights a four-year cycle between 2021 and 2024. Sport TV Rights currently holds the same rights, paying $4.1m (€3.5m) per season.

The rights in the new cycle cover all matches to the División Profesional as well as second-tier División Aficionados and the Copa Simón Bolívar knockout cup competition. The agency will pay a total of $46.5m (€39.1m) over the deal’s lifespan, including $5.1m to produce the video assistant referee (VAR) system in both leagues.

The agency faced competition from two rivals in the form of telco Telefónica Celular de Bolivia (Telecel) and LatAm pay-television broadcaster GolTV.

Telecel, known commercially as Tigo, is said to have offered a total of $46m, while the FBF said that GolTV’s offer amounted to just under $50m. The offer from GolTV has clauses attached to it under a revenue sharing model. However, Sports TV Rights’ Quiroga has disputed the accuracy of the rival bid figures.