A tender that the AFA should carry out
On December 20, 2019, the Argentine Soccer Superliga called for bids to implement a comprehensive marketing model for international audiovisual rights.
The TyC Sports company had offered to continue its contract for an amount of 8,000,000 million annually until 2026, an amount that seemed meager to the organizers.
It was established that on January 20 of the current period, the opening of the offers should be made.
However, a number of criticisms, both in form and substance, made the SAF continue to postpone the times. The latest (will it be the last?) Statement indicates that the opening of bids will take place on March 31.
Seven bidding companies bought the sheets with a value of $ 5,000:
1- IMG: International Management Group is one of the largest sports representation companies, but for several years now it has been playing different fields in terms of organizing events and the media, among other various activities.
2- Mediapro: It is a Spanish audiovisual group from Barcelona and its activity is the management of sports rights and audiovisual services.
3- Gol TV: It is a Latin American subscription TV channel of Uruguayan origin that broadcasts soccer games and whose owner is the company Tenfield and its founder is Paco Casal.
4- TyC Sports: It is the company that currently owns the audiovisual rights and offered the renewal of its contract, but it was rejected.
5- ESPN: It is a TV channel owned by Disney, which in its Latin American department has great influence.
6- Turner: Known as TBS, it is the company that operates the TV channels and groups that are owned by Warner Media. Its headquarters are in Atlanta.
7-Sport Right: no history found.
TyC Sports (who is today the holder of the rights) opened fire, indicating that an unknown company submitted a project before the tender was opened and that some points in the tender favored it.
ESPN submitted a formal letter to the SAF, with a copy to the AFA, which basically questions:
Presentation times (something that at first seems to have been corrected)
The figure of the INITIATOR, since it has a series of privileges, which give it as a possible winner.
Dark, ambiguous and imprecise points that make technical-economic-financial analysis difficult.
Not only did the companies question the tender; Clubs, such as Lanús, among others, asked that the tender be postponed.
A note of color is the title to which the tender is called: "The implementation of a transformational project of integral commercialization of the rights of the professional Superliga of Argentine soccer".
The figure of the initiator
Undoubtedly everyone has targeted the company Sports Rights Management LLC. A consortium formed by Fanatiz.com (live streaming platform owned by the Rivera brothers) and 1190 Sport (company specialized in sports marketing owned by Daniel Belmar).
This company in the specification is called the initiator, since it presents the executive project, who has all the privileges of the figure of private initiative:
In case of losing, it must be compensated by the winners with a sum of up to $ 500,000
If the most convenient offer does not exceed 20% of the initiator, a simultaneous offer improvement must be called
Apparently it would be a new company created for the purposes of this tender.
Superliga can object to the winning company, even if it is the best economic offer.
The SAF can modify the terms of the link and claim new conditions.
This figure of the initiator as we see has preemption rights, ballotage rights, intellectual property rights, copyrights, etc.
However, when this regulation is applied, much attention is paid to the background of the company, something that is unknown in the case.
After all these criticisms, the Argentine consortium Sports Managments would have renounced its status as an initiator, although it is still invited to participate in the bidding process.
But the problems do not end in this catalog of reviews. Some of the rights that are tendered here would already be sold by the AFA: They are the TV rights for betting, transmission for online betting.
Some reflections and proposals
Argentine soccer is one of the best sellers in South America.
Greater participation of the clubs in the main points of the specification is required.
Although the agreement of understanding between AFA / SAF gives the latter the right to call for bids, the opinion of the former is essential.
It would be paradoxical and legally dangerous for the SAF to call this tender whenever it appears to have an expiration date. Article 61 of the statute of the SAF establishes that it is the clubs themselves that can request the dissolution of said institution, something that seems to be happening.
If the figure of the Initiator has effectively disappeared, we are facing a totally and absolutely different specification, so a new one should be made that contemplates this reality.
In the face of the crisis and “double command” situation, we understand that it is the AFA that must regain its powers to generate a tender that may compromise the destinies of Argentine football for the next decade.