The paradoxical nature of Brazilian club football rights is once again causing problems, this time in the second-tier Série B.
For the entirety of the 2018 season, Série B club Coritiba has refused to sign the collective five-year media-rights deal with the Brazilian football confederation (CBF) covering clubs in Série B.
As a result, media group Globo is reported to have reduced its latest payment for the collective deal covering the other 19 Série B clubs by about BRL 400,000, as a means of putting pressure on Coritiba to sign. A bloc of Série A clubs aligned with Turner are reportedly considering a boycott.
Fears that the league will grind to a halt over the dispute may be premature, but the episode is another reminder that Brazilian legislation on club football rights is no longer fit for purpose.
The CBF has collectivised rights to each club in Série B, as well as many other Brazilian clubs in case they are promoted or relegated. This package was sold to media group Globo in a five-year deal, from 2018 to 2022.
Coritiba is not part of the CBF’s collective deal for Série B. It has a separate agreement for its media rights with Globo signed when it was a Série A club, from 2015 to 2018, which covers its rights in Série A and Série B.
Coritiba says it cannot sign the collective agreement as that would mean having two separate, concurrent contracts for its media rights in 2018. Brazilian Série B club Goias, which also has an individual deal with Globo from 2015 to 2018, signed the collective agreement
Local sources believe Coritiba does not want to have its Série B rights tied up with the CBF and Globo until the end of 2022, and wants to negotiate another individual deal.
Should Coritiba not be promoted this season, the club wants to keep its options open. Joining the wider collective Série B deal for the next four years would see it earn about BRL 6m per year – about five times less than the amount it earns in its currently-unsigned deal.
Coritiba is also part of a bloc of clubs aiming to negotiate better free-to-air Série A deals with Globo, from 2019 to 2024. Clubs that signed pay-television deals with Turner-owned pay-television broadcaster Esporte Interativo were offered smaller fees for their free-to-air rights by Globo.