Conmebol looks for swift resolution to Libertadores rights issue

Conmebol, the governing body of South American football, is seeking a speedy resolution to its issue around the media rights for the continent’s top-tier Copa Libertadores competition with a new Brazilian deal hoped to be in place within the next week.

The body has offered out the rights to at least four broadcasters in Brazil, UoL reports, which include Brazilian commercial broadcasters including RedeTV, Band, Record and SBT.

The broadcast rights agreements in Brazil previously held by media group Globo and OTT subscription platform DAZN were cancelled earlier this 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 and DAZN are still thought to be in the running, with the latter understood to be keen on a renegotiation of its fees to keep the prestige property.

Conmebol is understood to be receiving advice on the rights sales process from the IMG agency. The two parties are conducting private negotiations rather than a formal tender process.

Globo was paying around $65m (€55m) for the rights in a deal signed in 2018 when the dollar-real conversion rate was 1 to 3.88, therefore costing the broadcaster around R252m per season. The exchange rate has since jumped to 1 to 5.33, meaning the cost of the rights have effectively risen to around R346m per season.

Globo acquired the rights for four seasons, from 2019 to 2022. It landed free-to-air rights to one match per match week, on Tuesday or Wednesday, including the final, plus pay-television rights to the second-pick match on Tuesday and Wednesday each match week, excluding the final, and highlights of all other matches.

DAZN had agreed a deal in 2018 to acquire the rights to the Copa Sudamericana for a four-year cycle between 2019 and 2022. The deal was agreed directly with Conmebol, not FC Diez Media, the joint venture between the IMG agency and DAZN Group. The JV was created to handle global commercial rights related to the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana, for which it guarantees Conmebol a fee of $350m (€294.2m) per year, from 2019 to 2022.