Globo relents after court’s ruling over Carioca broadcasts

Brazilian commercial broadcaster Globo was ordered to honour its contract with the Carioca State Championship by the Rio de Janeiro district court following an injunction being filed by the rights-holder.

Globo aired the semi-final match between Fluminense and Botafogo yesterday (Sunday) after having previously announced that it was cancelling its contract for the property. A late injunction was filed by the Rio de Janeiro Football Federation to the court on the basis that the broadcast arrangement was still live for this season.

The rights dispute between Globo and the Carioca Championship has been increasingly fractious and took another step when the media group announced that it would be cancelling its contract with the rights-holder.

Globo’s position has remained a constant and that has been that it views the government’s recent provisional decree as a violation of its contract with the Carioca Championship.

The broadcaster released a statement on the issue which said: “This week Globo terminated the contract for the broadcast of the Campeonato Carioca for the violation of its exclusive rights but received a court order that obliges it to transmit the games to which it was entitled when the contract was in force.

“Globo will appeal the decision, but, out of respect to the Court and the clubs, of which it is a historic partner, it will transmit tomorrow’s match between Fluminense and Botafogo through the Rio Cup semifinal, on TV Globo, SporTV and Premiere. Globo clarifies that clubs are free to broadcast their games or allow third parties to broadcast them, once the contract has been terminated.”

The recent media-rights decree introduced by Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro places a club’s media rights in its own hands in the event that it does not hold a broadcast deal. The decree was to be in place for a period of 120 days from when it was handed down (June 19) and is yet to be ratified by the Brazilian congress.

Globo announced that it would continue paying its rights fees for the 2020 competition, but took the position that as long as Flamengo would be allowed to broadcast its matches, Globo would not be airing any further matches.

Flamengo has taken full advantage of the provisional law and has broadcast its Carioca matches on its own TV channel – FlaTV – as well as its social media platforms inside Brazil. Internationally, the club agreed a rolling one-match broadcast deal with football streaming business MyCujoo.

Flamengo’s viewing figures have broken records in Brazil with 2.2 million simultaneous streams for its match against Boavista.

However, ESPN Brazil reported that MyCujoo encountered technical issues moments before the match in processing fans’ payments. The platform was charging R$10 ($1.89/€1.67) for access to the stream inside of Brazil and $8 (€7.05) outside of Brazil.

The game was not scheduled to be broadcast on FlaTV but a late decision was made after the MyCujoo payment provider appeared to be overwhelmed by the demand.

Globo has sought a range of deterrents at the Rio court which have included the threat of a fine for Flamengo, though the court has resisted all of Globo’s arguments to date.

Globo is the dominant broadcaster of domestic Brazilian football, holding free-to-air and pay-per-view rights to all 20 Campeonato Serie A clubs and pay-television rights of 12 Serie A clubs. US broadcaster Turner pay-television rights to the remaining eight clubs.