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Facebook, Conmebol reaffirm commitment to Copa Libertadores deal

Social media platform Facebook has said it will retain exclusivity over its Copa Libertadores rights in South America and Brazil, amid claims it would be compensated by Conmebol and Fox Sports to share its rights with the pay-television broadcaster.

The South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) announced last October that Facebook had won three packages of Copa Libertadores rights in its tender. These included a package of exclusive rights in Brazil to three live matches on each Thursday night of the Copa Libertadores until the quarter-finals (and one fixture per match week thereafter) and the equivalent package in South America. Its deal runs for four years, from 2019 to 2022, and also covers a package of non-exclusive rights in South America to the first-pick match on Tuesdays or Wednesdays across all stages of the tournament, including the final.

Reports emerged in Argentina and Brazil last week that its Thursday-night rights would become non-exclusive, but both Facebook and Conmebol have insisted this will not be the case and the company will retain its exclusive rights.

Leonardo Lenz Cesar, director of sports partnerships for Facebook in Latin America, said: “We are happy with the partnership thus far, which has enabled millions of fans across the region to watch the games for free on Facebook Watch. And while change can generate some resistance, we’re encouraged not just by the number of people watching Libertadores on Facebook Watch but by the way they’re coming together on our platform to interact with one another and participate in the broadcast.

“We will continue to listen to feedback from fans and work closely with Conmebol to deliver a highly interactive and social viewing experience on Facebook Watch. And we will also continue to explore new ways of increasing the number of people who have access to the sport.”

Conmebol added that it is “happy to collaborate with Facebook to reach the largest number of fans” across Latin America and Brazil.