Portuguese Football Federation calls for weekly free-to-air Primeira Liga match

Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) chief executive Tiago Craveiro has criticised the lack of live free-to-air coverage of the country’s Primeira Liga, describing the blanket coverage on pay television as a “mistake”.

All matches from the Portuguese top flight are shown by pay-TV’s Sport TV, with the exception of Benfica’s home matches, which are shown by the Lisbon club’s subscription channel.

Speaking at the Soccerex Europe convention on the outskirts of Lisbon, Craveiro warned: “Part of our work must be to make football accessible to all. From the price of the tickets to the television broadcast. Therefore I argue that at least one league game [per week] should be broadcast on a free-to-air channel.”

“Closing off everything as paid content is a mistake.”

In neighbouring Spain, the second-pick match of the week from the top-tier LaLiga must be shown live on a free-to-air channel. That package is held by the Mediapro agency (from 2019-20 to 2021-22), which showcases the coverage on Gol, its free-to-air digital terrestrial channel.

Broadcast rights deals are negotiated on a club-by-club basis in Portugal and not sold centrally by the LPFP, the professional league body.

Craveiro also stated his opinion that the previously dominant television broadcasters would stop purchasing rights to football and, in a nod to internet giants Amazon and Netflix, that “the big companies” could take on this role as they have done with rights to films and entertainment series.