Turner, the USA-backed Brazilian pay-television broadcaster, has chosen to unilaterally end all its separate rights deals with clubs from Brazilian soccer’s top-tier Brasileiro Serie A next year, two years earlier than its contracts run to. 

Turner has been broadcasting action from Brazilian soccer’s Serie A on its TNT Sports channel since 2019, but in 2020 negotiated a clause in its contract with the specific clubs – which now number seven – meaning that it could terminate the deal without extra payment at the end of the ongoing 2021 season in early December. 

The termination means heavyweight clubs such as Palmeiras and Santos will no longer have a domestic broadcast partner from next year, although thanks to new legislation having been passed in Brazil earlier this month concerning the sale of soccer media rights, they will now have a much easier time securing domestic coverage than would have been the case previously. 

The decision will affect the clubs Juventude, Santos, Bahia, Ceará, Fortaleza, Athletico-PR and Palmeiras.

The change in the contracts from last year was made 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, with the agreement of away sides.

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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 taking the decision because the rights are now not as appealing as they were when they were exclusive domestically to TNT – now other outlets, such as Globo (which holds rights for the other 13 clubs), can show games as well. 

Turner has said: “The decision, supported by the exit clause provided for in the contract, was taken because the fragmented transmission of the Brazilian Championship does not allow the company to provide a full experience to its subscribers. With affected sales, in addition to other limiting factors such as lack of exclusive games and blackouts, the current model is not sustainable for the company.”

Brazilian media has reported that the decision was expected by the clubs and that they had initially been notified of the possibility of Turner withdrawing back in 2020.

If it left this year, Turner would have to pay a substantial amount in fines to each of the teams, but instead, it can leave for free in 2022 due to the aforementioned contract clause. 

Turner has said it is “immensely grateful to all those who participated in this project for sharing with us unique moments that only football can create", and has expressed its thanks to all the clubs it has partnered with.