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Brazil’s SBT ‘poised’ to sign off Copa Libertadores rights deal

The South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) is said to be close to agreeing a new rights deal in Brazil for the Copa Libertadores club competition with free-to-air commercial broadcaster SBT.

SBT is set to take over the free-to-air rights vacated by media group Globo, with a deal to be announced by the end of the week, according to UOL in Brazil.

SBT is poised to begin covering the Copa Libertadores from the resumption of its 2020 edition next week. Its contract is expected to run through to cover the 2022 tournament, with SBT to offer a similar package to Globo consisting of two games per round, broadcast on Wednesdays.

The final contracts are thought to be in the process of being signed off.

Conmebol is said to have ruled out renegotiating with Globo because of the breach of the previous contract. Conmebol broadcast rights agreements in Brazil previously held by media group Globo and OTT subscription platform DAZN were cancelled last month. Both broadcasters sought to protect revenue streams in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and agreed to cancel their contracts with Conmebol.

Globo moved to end the deal partly because of the dramatic shift in the exchange rate between the US dollar and Brazilian real.

The broadcaster had acquired the rights for four seasons, from 2019 to 2022. Globo is paying around $65m (€55.2m) for the rights in a deal signed in 2018 and when the dollar-real conversion rate was 1 to 3.88, therefore costing the broadcaster around R$252m (now $46.6m) per season.

The sales process was run by FC Diez Media, the joint venture between the IMG agency and DAZN Group, the global sports subscription service and media company. It was created to handle global commercial rights related to the Copa Libertadores and second-tier Copa Sudamericana, for which it guarantees Conmebol a fee of $350m per year.

In the wake of the move by Globo and DAZN, Conmebol was said to have offered out the rights to at least four broadcasters in Brazil, including commercial broadcasters RedeTV, Band, Record and SBT.

The latter is now said to have emerged victorious, with UOL stating that SBT has agreed to provide dedicated exposure to Copa Libertadores sponsors, something which was not offered by Globo.

In addition to the SBT deal, Conmebol is also seeking a partner for the pay-television rights which were held by the Globosat-owned SporTV. These covered rights to the second-pick match on Tuesday and Wednesday each match week.

In November 2017, SBT returned to the football rights acquisition space by completing a deal for the Copa do Nordeste, an annual football competition contested by clubs in the Northeastern region of the country. In July, the broadcaster acquired rights to the decisive second leg of the Campeonato Carioca football final between Flamengo and Fluminense.