Globo proposes rights fees cuts for Brazilian top flight

Brazilian commercial broadcaster Globo has informed Campeonato Brasileiro Série A clubs that it intends to make significant reductions in its monthly rights fees due to the uncertainty over the status of the football league’s 2020 season amid the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 2020 Série A season was scheduled to start on May 3, but the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) has yet to make a decision over when, or if, the campaign can take place.

Globo has informed the clubs that it will reduce rights fees due for April, May and June, before the payments return to normal in July. Globo currently pays clubs a fixed monthly fee for both free-to-air and pay-television broadcasts. The broadcaster also holds pay-per-view rights deals with various clubs.

The Globo proposal includes reduced monthly free-to-air rights payments of R396,769 ($71,228/€65,660) per club between April and June, rising back up to R$1.12m in July, according to UOL. By the end of the currently scheduled season end in December, payments would total R$7.94m to each club.

Globo has given clubs until today (Tuesday) to respond to the proposal. At a meeting of the clubs on Monday, it was decided to take a united stance with the CBF in an attempt to prevent Globo from reducing its payments, according to Maquina do Esporte.

Fernando Manuel Pinto, director of Globo’s sports rights, told UOL: “A proposal was presented to reschedule payments in the face of current circumstances, which involve paralysing the national calendar and the consequent challenges imposed by it. The clubs are debating and evaluating, which is natural.”

Globo agreed individual club deals from 2019 to 2024 worth a total of R$1.1bn per year for free-to-air and pay-television rights. This is divided among clubs as follows: 40 per cent in fixed monthly payments; 30 per cent according to the number of matches broadcast; and 30 per cent according to where a team finishes in the league.

Earlier this month, the broadcaster sought to alleviate panic in the domestic football industry amid its decision to suspend payments for certain rights deals, stating its move would not affect clubs competing in the top two national leagues and the Copa do Brasil.

Globo has been viewed as the likely long-term home for more Brazilian clubs’ matches after it emerged recently that US-based media group Turner is seeking talks with the eight top-tier clubs with which it holds broadcast rights deals, with a view to exiting the contracts.

The eight clubs are: Palmeiras; Internacional; Santos; Bahia; Fortaleza; Ceará; Coritiba; and Athletico Paranaense. Turner holds pay-television rights to the clubs’ games until 2024.

Globo recently suspended payment of the final rights instalment for certain state championships. This included payments to Federação Paulista de Futebol, governing body of football in the state of São Paulo, due to the suspension of the Campeonato Paulista amid the ongoing pandemic.

Brazilian clubs recently voted to award international broadcast rights to Global Sports Rights Management, the agency set up by Latin American sports rights executives, from 2020 to 2023. The clubs also voted for an international betting streaming and data deal with Zeus Sports Marketing, the boutique sports marketing agency with offices in London and Singapore, and Stats Perform, the sports data and technology company.

The selected companies are now undergoing validation for the scope of work, governance and compliance checks and be asked to present financial guarantees before contracts can be finalised.