TV Azteca cites prohibitive costs in threat to drop Liga MX as Tebas advises centralising rights
TV Azteca, the prominent Mexican commercial broadcaster, has sent shockwaves through Mexican soccer by saying that it could end its domestic soccer coverage because of prohibitive costs.
Announcing disappointing quarterly sales for the final period of 2018, Benjamín Salinas, president of TV Azteca, said that the costs of broadcasting soccer were having a detrimental effect on “consolidated operational flow.”
In previous years, TV Azteca has dropped its coverage of the matches of top-tier Liga MX teams Pachuca and Xolos (Club Tijuana) because of the costs involved.
Conversely, Salinas said that TV Azteca’s coverage of last summer’s Fifa World Cup in Russia was profitable.
TV Azteca presently broadcasts the games of Atlas, Morelia, Puebla, Veracruz, Santos and Chivas in the Liga MX.
Last month, TV Azteca finalised a deal to provide free-to-air live coverage of the home matches of Chivas in the Liga MX on the Azteca 7 channel.
Pay-TV rights to Chivas home fixtures are controlled by rival commercial broadcaster Televisa, which shows them on its TDN channel.
Meanwhile, Javier Tebas, the president of Spain’s LaLiga, has advised the Liga MX to centralise the sale of its rights and consider playing games at a time to suit other international time zones, if it wants to achieve its potential and increase its economic value.
Tebas said: “The individual sale of audiovisual rights does not benefit the Liga MX brand. We [LaLiga] had individual sales until 2015 and, now that it is centralised, we have tripled the value of our rights. It is necessary to abandon individuality and contribute to the collective of the brand to grow; with it, everyone grows, from the big clubs to the small ones.”
Despite ranking among the world’s eight top leagues, Tebas added that the absence of a global vision caused, in part, by schedules that are not easily accessible to the rest of the world, is hampering the league’s progress. He said: “I would have a more targeted strategy If the games are at three o’clock in the morning, they cannot be seen; it happens to us [LaLiga] in China.
“Today, in Europe, the Mexican league is not seen very much. But you should see it, because it has great players, it’s very competitive, and it’s just a matter of schedules.”
Enrique Bonilla, the Liga MX president, told Sportcal in October last year that the league is considering centralising the sale of its rights. At present, each club sells its own TV rights both domestically and internationally, leading to an imbalance in wealth.
He said: “The centralisation of TV rights is a real possibility in the next cycle. We have to keep on growing and to do that we must learn from the best practices in the world. That [TV rights] is one of the key issues we have to work on. We need more resources so we can grow faster.”
However, any move to centralise the rights would be complicated by the fact that some of the top teams in Liga MX are owned by television companies, such as Club América (Grupo Televisa) and Atlas (Grupo Salinas, which also owns TV Azteca).Sportcal