Portuguese regulator scrutinising Altice, Nos football rights deals

Portugal’s competition authority, the Autoridade da Concorrência, is looking into the long-term football rights deals signed by rival telecommunications firms Nos and Altice, according to Reuters.

The news agency, citing a spokeswoman for the AdC, said the authority was concerned over the potentially excessive duration of the deals and exclusive rights that they entail as that may restrict competition in the market. The regulator is collecting information about the agreements.

Over the past two months, Nos and Altice, which owns Portugal Telecom and its pay-television operator Meo, have signed rights deal with top-tier Primeira Liga clubs worth over €1.6bn ($1.73bn) in total.

Primeira Liga clubs sell their rights on an individual basis and Nos in December signed a deal with Benfica that will run for a maximum of 10 seasons, from 2016-17 to 2025-26. Nos has since sealed long-term deals for the home matches of Académica, Arouca, Belenenses, Braga, Marítimo, Nacional, Paços de Ferreira, Benfica’s fellow Lisbon-based giant Sporting and Vitória Setúbal.

Altice has acquired the media and sponsorship rights of Porto and Rio Ave, both in 10-season deals from 2018-19 to 2027-28. Nos’s deal with Sporting and Altice’s deal with Porto also include each club’s shirt sponsorship rights and club channel distribution rights.

Altice has also secured a collective three-season deal for the home matches of 19 Portuguese Segunda Liga clubs, from 2016-17 to 2018-19.