Deadline extended for criticised Argentina Superliga international rights tender

Argentina’s Superliga, the top-tier of domestic football in the South American country, has extended the bid deadline in its tender process for international broadcast rights, with ESPN said to be one of a number of parties unhappy by the way in which the tender documents are set out.

The Superliga recently kicked off an invitation to tender to sell the league’s broadcast rights internationally from the 2020-21 season onwards, with opening bids due to be submitted from today (Monday).

However, the league announced on Friday that the process has been extended, with a consultation deadline set at January 28 and the presentation of bids now due by February 3.

Torneos, the Argentinian rights agency, is the long-standing international rights-holder of the Superliga. Its current agreement is worth around $6m (€5.4m) per season and, in October, the league was reported to have rebuffed an offer worth $8m per season.

Argentinian newspaper Clarín has reported that “various market forces” have criticised the tender process.

The extension of the deadlines comes after ESPN wrote to the Superliga expressing its “absolute disagreement” with the tender process. Within its letter, ESPN has criticised a tender process issued “under short deadlines and with many questionable aspects”.

The bidding terms and conditions of the tender contain “ambiguous, confusing and inaccurate points,” according to ESPN.

The broadcaster has called for a new tender to be drawn up, adding: “The investment and the analytical work that demands such a process can only lead us to think that this bid is designed for someone who already has this platform ready.”

The ITT was issued with the protracted takeover of Torneos by Mediapro, the media rights agency and production group active across Latin America, still to be completed.

As the invitation to tender launched, it was reported that the league was looking to raise $15m per season from the sale of international rights and “other types of commercial rights”.

Pay-television broadcasters Fox Sports and Turner hold the league’s domestic rights, having bought them in a five-year deal in 2017. The duo are active across Latin America and are sure to be interested in the rights across the region.

International betting rights to the Superliga are held by Stats Perform. In September, the sports data and technology firm announced a new five-year agreement with the Argentinian Football Association (AFA) that comprises for the global betting video rights and data rights to the Superliga, Copa de la Superliga, Copa Argentina and Recopa Argentina.

In 2016, Torneos renegotiated a rights deal with the AFA covering the country’s national team and the lower-league National B Division and First Division B competitions.