The Argentine government has issued its approval for Mediapro, the Spanish production firm and media rights agency, to acquire the Fox Sports channels in that country currently owned by media giant Walt Disney.
Through the agreement, Mediapro will take control of the current three Fox Sports channels in Argentina, as a condition for regulatory approval being granted in the market for Disney’s $71 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s international assets, first mooted in 2019.
The deal was struck between Mediapro and Disney in mid-February, but could not go through as completed until governmental approval was secured, which happened yesterday (April 27).
The transfer of assets will see Mediapro secure sports rights including the top-flight domestic Argentinian soccer league, and South American soccer’s pan-continental Copa Libertadores.
Fox Sports also covers European soccer’s UEFA Champions League, American football’s NFL, motor racing’s Formula 1, basketball's MLB, and the ATP tennis tournament in Cordoba.
The deal is similar to a recent agreement concluded in Mexico, where Disney sold its Fox Sports channel to Grupo Lauman, the conglomerate that has assets in telecoms and media.
Mediapro already employs over 600 people in Argentina, and last year its production company reached an agreement to produce an original content series in the country with the Disney+ streaming service.
While Disney has been in the process of selling Fox Sports in the country, it has had to show two league matches per week on free-to-air television, with at least one featuring either Boca Juniors or River Plate, Argentina’s two biggest clubs.
This was set by the National Competition Commission (CNDC) of Argentina, which had also forced the broadcaster to show Copa Libertadores matches until the completion of the sale.
However, this condition will no longer be valid now that the deal with Mediapro has been agreed upon.
At the same time as the first reports concerning Mediapro buying the Fox Sports Argentina channels were coming through, the Spanish production firm was also being appointed as host broadcaster of the 2023 Pan American (Pan Am) and Parapan American (ParaPan Am) Games to be held in Santiago, Chile.