Portuguese free-to-air broadcasters steer clear of Liga

The Portuguese government has said that the country’s free-to-air broadcasters are under no obligation to acquire rights for the Primeira Liga, the country’s top football league, despite the competition being included in a list of events of national importance that are supposed to receive exposure on free-to-air television.

The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs said that neither pay-television broadcaster Sport TV, the league’s national rights-holder, nor the country’s free-to-air broadcasters would break any rules by failing to agree sublicensing rights deals for next season, 2012-13, according to the Correio da Manhã website.

“There is no breach of the rules… since the law creates the possibility of acquisition of rights by interested parties, but does not impose any obligation to transmit the events,” the ministry said.

The law creates the possibility for one match per week to be shown on free-to-air television.

Sport TV usually sells on some of its rights in sublicensing deals, but no bids have been forthcoming ahead of the new 2012-13 season from the country’s main free-to-air broadcasters – RTP, SIC and TVI – despite the pay-television broadcaster extending the deadline for offers.

The report added that TVI and SIC do not plan to acquire rights as the commercial broadcasters have already committed resources to covering European club football for the next three years. Commercial broadcaster TVI replaced public-service broadcaster RTP as the free-to-air platform for Uefa Champions League coverage in the period 2012-13 to 2014-15, while SIC renewed a deal for the Uefa Europa League for the same three seasons.