CONMEBOL, South American soccer’s governing body, is willing to accept bids from streaming-only media outlets for exclusive rights to its premier pan-continental Copa Libertadores between 2023-26, it has been reported.

According to South American media, the governing body, along with the CONMEBOL commercial rights partner FC Diez Media, made it clear to broadcasters and potential partners earlier this week that submissions from streaming platforms would be considered like any other bids as long as they make commercial sense and would still generate a reasonable level of exposure.

The two organizations, CONMEBOL and FC Diez Media, have now started the process of preparing the packages which will be on offer to broadcasters for the next four-year rights cycle of the Libertadores, the continent’s top-tier clubs competition.

Such a move would likely secure a substantial increase in the financial sums offered by bidders, with streaming heavyweights such as Amazon, Netflix, and Apple potentially able to get involved in a tender process. 

For the current cycle, 2019-22, CONMEBOL is collecting $1.4 billion in total for the sale of rights to both the Libertadores and the Sudamericana, the continent’s second-tier competition. 

It has been reported that three different packages are on offer this time for the Libertadores and another three for the Sudamericana. 

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For both of the competitions, one package will be for free-to-air TV (or streaming platform) and two for pay-TV. 

Another package that covers both competitions, for short-form clips and other highlights that can be sent out with a slight delay from the live coverage, has apparently been created for the first time in addition to the six mentioned above.

It is expected and has been reported before that rights to the two competitions will be awarded by April.

FC Diez Media was founded in 2018 as a joint venture between IMG, the international sports and entertainment agency, and Perform (now DAZN Group), the digital sports media specialist, after the two companies jointly acquired rights to CONMEBOL competitions from 2019 to 2022.

IMG took full control of FC Diez Media early last year when it bought DAZN’s 50% stake.

In December, CONMEBOL inserted an ‘anti-termination’ clause into the tender for broadcast rights to the 2023-26 Libertadores.

The clause was inserted, regional media reported, to try and prevent a repeat of the situation that occurred in August 2020 when Globo, the Brazilian commercial broadcasting giant that had covered the competition up until that point since the start of the last cycle in 2019, walked away from its contract citing financial difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

This move by Globo resulted in a lengthy legal dispute that only ended in October this year – meaning Globo is now able to enter the bidding process for the rights to the next cycle of the Libertadores.

The first stage of the 2022 Libertadores started across February 8-9, with the competition set to run through to the final on October 29 in Ecuador.