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Chivas avoids lawsuit; spreads love with non-exclusive Televisa deal

Mexican top-tier football club Chivas Guadalajara has come to an inventive arrangement with media group Televisa, avoiding a costly lawsuit prepared by the latter.

Chivas has agreed a one-year, non-exclusive, free-to-air media rights deal with Televisa covering all its home matches in Liga MX and the Copa MX, with Televisa paying no rights fee. The deal covers the 2019 Clausura and the 2019 Apertura, ending in December.

Televisa was planning to sue Chivas for signing a one-season deal with rival media group Azteca, covering 2019.

Chivas currently has a pay-television rights deal with Televisa which runs from beginning of the 2017 Apertura to the end of the 2019 Apertura. The contract stipulates that the club must pay Televisa compensation should it strike a media-rights deal with another company.

Reports in Mexico suggest Chivas struck a one-year free-to-air rights deal with Azteca just before Christmas. This contravened the clause in its deal with Televisa, triggering legal action. According to Mexican news site El Universal, the only way Chivas could prevent legal action was by providing free-to-air rights to Televisa for free.

Local observers are describing Chivas’ move as a masterstroke. It has negated the clause in its old deal preventing the club from expanding its distribution, while expanding its reach across Mexico’s two biggest free-to-air broadcasters.

Chivas is one of the most popular clubs in Mexico and is able to earn large amounts via sponsorship and kit licensing deals. Audience measurement company Nielsen reported that 10.6 million people watched at least one minute of Chivas v Toluca.