Ecuadorian league kicking off on GolTV as new offer rejected
The FEF, the Ecuadorian football federation, has announced the fixtures for the delayed start of the domestic top-tier Serie A season after declaring void a new contest it had launched for broadcasting rights for 2018 onwards.
This means that a 10-year, $276-million deal with GolTV, the Latin American cable and satellite broadcaster, remains in place.
This is despite the fact that DirecTV, the satellite broadcaster, claimed to have submitted an offer, on behalf of itself and other operators TV Cable and Univision, that it said would have been worth $432 million to the league and its clubs.
The FEF yesterday unveiled the calendar for the 2018 season, which will kick-off, a week later than initially planned, on the evening of 16 February, with Barcelona SC taking on Universidad Católica.
The federation had agreed to invite new bids for the Serie A rights in response to a ruling from a judge in Guayaquil last week that called for a relaunch of the process.
This followed criticism of, and legal challenges to, the deal with GolTV, which is owned by renowned Uruguayan player agent Paco Casal, because of an alleged lack of transparency and good business practice.
However, at a press conference on Tuesday evening, Jorge Chang, a lawyer for the FEF, said: “The federation declares the contest, for television rights, as void. There is not a single offer. The contract signed with GolTV is fully valid.”
Fernando Ferro, a representative of DirecTV, said that he had tried to present the higher offer, but that it had not been accepted.
Chang claimed that the submission was late and did not observe the necessary regulations.
He said: “They [DirecTV] did not comply with the rules of the contest, in which it was said that the delivery time was 6pm, not 6pm and 10pm, or 6pm and something else. The envelope was not completely closed or labelled as indicated in the bidding rules.”
Presenting what appeared to be a sealed envelope to the media, an annoyed Ferro said: “I ask the clubs to reconsider. They cannot throw an offer of $432 million on the floor.”
Fox Sports, the international sports broadcaster that is a major player in Latin American soccer, said last week that it would be interested in bidding, but does not seem to have followed up with an offer.
DirecTV, TV Cable and Univisa had announced that they would not be showing Serie A matches while the contract with GolTV still stands, but would be prepared to participate in a new bidding process.
The trio, which are available in a total of 695,000 households in Ecuador, claimed that GolTV intends to charge operators $4.40 per user for access to live matches, a figure they consider excessive.