Some FTA coverage of Ecuador kick-off as rights deal on ice
The FEF, the Ecuadorian soccer federation, implemented interim measures for the broadcasting of the opening fixtures of the domestic top-tier Serie A season amid a dispute over a rights deal with GolTV, the Latin American cable and satellite broadcaster.
Ahead of the kick-off, the FEF ruled that the first round of fixtures could be shown by cable groups CNT and Asocope, but with two of the six games - Barcelona SC against Universidad Católica on Friday night and El Nacional against Emelec on Saturday lunchtime - also available on free-to-air networks Teleamazonas and RTS, respectively.
The decision was taken, with the support of the clubs, as a new 10-year, $276-million rights deal with GolTV, which is owned by Uruguayan player agent Paco Casal, has been revoked by a court.
However, in a statement, the federation said: “The clubs ratified their support for the contract between FEF and GolTV Latinamerica SA for the transmission rights of the Ecuadorian Soccer Championship.”
The FEF agreed to invite new bids for the Serie A rights in response to a recent ruling from a judge that called for a relaunch of the process. However, it subsequently announced that there had been no acceptable offers for the rights, and that the deal with GolTV would be respected.
This was despite the fact that DirecTV, the satellite broadcaster, claimed to have submitted an offer, on behalf of itself and other operators TV Cable and Univisa, that would have been worth $432 million.
Osvaldo Giménez, a representative of GolTV, has since countered by claiming that its deal could actually be worth up to $680 million to the Ecuadorian league and its clubs.
Prior to the judge's ruling, DirecTV, TV Cable and Univisa had announced that they would not be showing Serie A matches while the contract with GolTV still stood, but would be prepared to participate in a new bidding process.
The deal with Casal's company was agreed last June, but has been subject to criticism and legal challenges because of an alleged lack of transparency and good business practice.