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Slim investment could shake up Mexican football rights market, report says

Media group Televisa and commercial broadcaster TV Azteca’s stranglehold on Mexican football rights could about to be challenged following an investment in two of Mexico’s first division clubs by telecommunications company America Movil.

The company, which is owned by Mexican multi-billionaire Carlos Slim, purchased 30-per-cent stakes in León and Pachuca, which gives him control over their television rights and would allow him to show coverage of their home matches via his telco.

Recently promoted León has yet to agree a television deal while Pachuca has a rights deal in place with TV Azteca so America Movil will have to wait until the deal expires before it can show the team’s matches. Mexican clubs sell their media rights individually.

Televisa holds the dominant market position in Mexican football and owns the first division clubs América, Atlante and San Luis and second division club Nexcaxa. TV Azteca owns the top-tier clubs Atlético Morelia and Jaguares.

In addition to its ownership of four clubs, Televisa also has the broadcasting rights to six other first division clubs, including: Guadalajara, Monterrey, Tigres UANL, Atlas, Pumas UNAM and Deportivo Toluca. TV Azteca holds the broadcasting rights contracts to two other clubs: Querétaro and Tijuana.

Bloomberg said that in addition to the challenge to its control of football rights, America Movil has been developing its online video content offering to lure viewers from Televisa. America Movil offered free online coverage of the 2011 Pan American Games and has also shown motorsport over the internet.

Televisa has been “encroaching on Slim’s territory” by entering the mobile phone business and offering home-phone and internet services, Bloomberg added.