Globo, the Brazilian commercial broadcasting giant, has lost its exclusive rights on digital platforms to broadcast men’s soccer’s top-tier 2022 Fifa World Cup, with the sport’s global governing body now reportedly offering these rights to social media sites in Brazil including YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok.
While Globo will still retain exclusive rights to next year’s World Cup in Qatar – to be held between 21 November and 18 December 2022 – on both free-to-air and pay-TV linear channels in Brazil, the exclusive rights across digital and online platforms have now been stripped from the broadcaster.
Reports from Brazil have now said that Fifa has brought in the local LiveMode media agency to advise it on how best to distribute rights across digital platforms.
The rights have been removed from Globo as part of the resolution to a legal dispute between the broadcaster and Fifa that began in June last year when Globo requested a delay on making its full payment – $90 million – for rights to the tournament.
Globo, which initially secured World Cup rights across all platforms – FTA, pay-TV and online – in 2015, in a deal running out after Qatar, alleged in making the request that the coronavirus pandemic had negatively affected the value of the 2022 World Cup and that therefore a reduction in its broadcast fees was reasonable.
Having obtained a favourable injunction on the payment from a Brazilian judge in June last year, Globo then renegotiated the terms of its arrangement with Fifa, in a deal that subsequently led to the removal of exclusive digital coverage rights.
This means that the network’s Globoplay streaming app and the various portals which covered the 2010, 2014 and 2018 World Cups – with the tournament seven years ago having been held in Brazil – will not be able to cover the 2022 edition of the prestigious competition.
LiveMode is already an existing Fifa partner, in charge of regional sponsorship distribution in South America for the World Cup (although as yet no agreements of this kind have been struck) and also manages the broadcast rights sales process for two of Brazil’s largest state soccer competitions.
Brazilian media has reported that LiveMode has been engaged in the search for close to two months, and was brought on board after an initial search from the governing body on its own did not yield any results in terms of potential digital coverage partners.
One issue, it has been reported, is that social media giants would want exclusivity – which will not be possible, given the games will be broadcast simultaneously on Globo’s terrestrial and pay-TV channels.
Games being shown on digital platforms would almost certainly lag slightly behind the other two mediums listed above in terms of their live coverage.
In better news for Globo, meanwhile, the broadcaster has secured pay-TV rights to all games played by the Brazilian top-tier soccer club Bahia between 2022 and 2024.
Bahia had previously been affiliated with rival network TNT Sports, but that broadcaster, owned by USA-based pay-TV broadcaster Turner, is unilaterally ending all its separate rights deals with eight clubs next year, two years earlier than its contracts run to.
Bahia has therefore joined five other clubs – Ceará, Coritiba, Fortaleza, Juventude and Santos – from the top-tier Brasileiro, which also had dealt with TNT Sports, in moving over to Globo from 2022 instead.
Only Athletico Paranaense and Palmeiras from the TNT Sports stable have not yet signed deals with Globo.
The new deal will be valid through the 2024 season and will encompass pay-TV rights on Globo’s SporTV channel from the start of next season onwards.
Guilherme Bellintani, president of Bahia, said: “We are very pleased to inaugurate this new stage of a project with Globo, with both free-to-air and pay-TV, as well as pay-per-view. We understand that, for Bahia, it will be good financially and, for our fans, it will be very important to expand access and have more visibility of our club's games.”
Turner has been broadcasting action from Brazilian soccer’s Serie A on its TNT Sports channel since 2019, but in 2020 it negotiated a clause in its contract with the specific clubs allowing it to terminate the deal without extra payment at the end of the ongoing 2021 season in early December.
Turner’s decision to exit the Brasileiro from December this year (the end of the current season), was made in part because of the impending legislation which means that soccer clubs in the country no longer have to agree to a broadcast partner with their opponents before each match – a situation that left many games under a broadcast blackout when two clubs held contracts with different networks.
Now, the 40 clubs across the Serie A and Serie B leagues have the power to negotiate media rights for their home matches themselves, without the agreement of away sides. The previous so-called Pelé Law, set in 1998, stated that both participating teams in a game must be in agreement in order for a broadcaster to air it.
In its announcement of the deal’s termination, Turner said it was also taking the decision because the rights are now not as appealing as they were when they were exclusive domestically to TNT.
Meanwhile, OneFootball, the expanding digital soccer platform, has secured worldwide rights to live-stream action and present highlights from the Copa Intelbras do Brasil, through a deal with the Klefer agency until the end of the 2022 season.
From this week onwards, OneFootball will cover all remaining Copa Intelbras action from the 2021 campaign (about to enter the semi-final stage) for its users worldwide, while rights to 38 matches from the 2022 season have also been secured.
The agreement, aside from live coverage, also includes highlights clips from all matches and will extend the competition’s international broadcast reach to an audience of over 100 million.
The partnership starts with the two semi-finals tonight (20 October) – Athletico-PR vs Flamengo and Atlético-MG vs Fortaleza.
Klefer is the competition’s commercial rights-holding agency.
OneFootball adds the Copa Intelbras to a worldwide soccer portfolio that already includes top-tier leagues such as Mexico’s LigaMX, the Austrian Bundesliga, the Scottish Premiership and Belgium’s Pro League.
Nikolaus von Doetinchem, vice-president of over-the-top and media rights at OneFootball, said: "The Copa Intelbras is an exciting competition which features all the top clubs. We are thrilled to be able to bring fans across the world closer to the action through our flexible and convenient approach to live-streaming. This partnership gives our young audience of football fans a new way to engage with Brazilian football and provides Klefer with new avenues to increase viewership and engagement."
Eduardo Leite, chief executive of Klefer, added: "As commercial rights owners, we are very happy to team up with Onefootball. Like Onefootball, the Copa Intelbras is a reference in its market and the joining of forces only brings positive consequences for Brazilian football.”