CONMEBOL, South American soccer’s governing body, has opened the tender process across that region for broadcast rights to the 2023-26 cycle of its top-tier Copa Libertadores clubs competition.
The governing body opened the process, which also covers the second-tier Copa Sudamericana tournament and one-off Recopa match for those four seasons, on March 18. Parties intending to bid have been given a deadline of April 20.
The tender is divided into two territories – Territory A solely covers Brazil, with Territory B covering the other nine CONMEBOL nations in South America, as well as countries across Central America and the Caribbean.
Currently, for the 2019-22 cycle, pay-TV broadcaster Fox Sports holds live pan-continental rights alongside social media giant Facebook, while in Brazil coverage is also available on free-to-air broadcaster SBT.
There are eight available packages to choose from, ranging from pay-TV through free-to-air and also including the new addition of an ‘instant clips and highlights’ package, with the rights running from the start of 2023 until the end of the 2026 campaign.
CONMEBOL has issued the tender alongside FC Diez Media, the company which is its exclusive partner agency for selling and distributing club competition rights.
Ernst & Young, the international consultants and professional services firm, will be monitoring the process, meanwhile.
Communications related to the tender should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CONMEBOL will make the final decision as to allocating the rights, while FC Diez Media will manage the logistics of the sales process and then the subsequent negotiation of agreements.
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.
Last month, it was reported that CONMEBOL would be willing to accept bids from streaming-only media outlets for exclusive Libertadores rights, as long as they make commercial sense and would still generate a reasonable level of exposure.
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.
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 last 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.