Globo suspends Paulista state league rights payments

Brazilian commercial broadcaster Globo has suspended payments to Federação Paulista de Futebol, governing body of football in the state of São Paulo, due to the suspension of the Campeonato Paulista club competition amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Globo holds a six-year contract with the FPF, running from 2016 to 2021, which encompasses free-to-air, pay-television and internet rights to the annual tournament.

Globo was due to pay its latest instalment for the contract on April 5, but has said it will not do so due to the suspension of the competition, of which Corinthians is the reigning champion.

At a meeting with its 48 member clubs on March 16, the FPF elected to suspend its A1, A2 and A3 competitions on an indefinite basis.

In a letter sent to the FPF, reported by the UOL website in Brazil, Globo said: “In view of the suspension of the 2020 Campeonato Paulista, for an indefinite period, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we inform that as a precautionary measure we are suspending the payment of the last instalment referring to the Campeonato, scheduled for 05/04/2020, in accordance with the clauses of the contracts, while the current uncertainty regarding the impacts of the pandemic on the full or effective continuation of the Campeonato endures.”

The Paulista league is regarded as the most valuable of the state leagues in Brazil.

During the 2019 season, a total of just under R$123m ($23.4m/€21.4m) in broadcast rights revenue was reported to have been distributed to the Campeonato Paulista teams.

Globo’s stance comes after pay-television broadcaster beIN Sports informed the French Professional League (LFP) yesterday (Wednesday) that it is suspending its payments for Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 rights until the competitions resume. The move follows a similar decision taken by the Vivendi-owned Canal Plus over its forthcoming payments.

The positions adopted are the latest examples of rights-holding broadcasters refusing to make rights payments with their live programming portfolios currently decimated.

Nordic pay-television broadcaster Nent was the first to say publicly that it would not be paying any rights fees for postponed properties until they recommence. DAZN, the international subscription streaming platform, has informed rights-holders this week that it would not be making its next rights fee payments for any content that has yet to be delivered.

The German Football League (DFL) is also locked in ongoing discussions with its domestic broadcast rights-holders as it seeks to reach a consensus over the final instalment of this season’s Bundesliga media rights payments.