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The cost of broadcast rights for Latin America’s six strongest First-Division football leagues has surpassed the $1 billion mark for the first time in the region’s history. Research by Dataxis showed that the main domestic professional soccer competitions organized by the local federations of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru attracted a combined $1.07 billion in TV revenues in 2012 – up by over 56 per cent compared with 2011.
“Different local federations and professional football associations are currently experimenting with different business models to commercialise broadcast rights in Latin America,” said Juan Pablo Conti, senior analyst at Dataxis and author of the report. “However, regardless of the approach they have been adopting, they have all been increasingly successful in making their margins grow.”
Broadcast rights for the “Brasileirao”, Brazil’s domestic First-Division league, were easily Latin America’s most expensive, worth over $610 million in 2012 and accounting for nearly 57 per cent of the regional total.
The Dataxis report also found that there were a total of 116 different dedicated TV channels broadcasting sports programming in Latin America’s seven main TV markets at the end of 2012. High-definition sports TV networks were fast gaining space in the channel line-ups of all of the large pay-TV operators. Mexico was the country exhibiting the largest number of HD sports channels in the region (12), followed by Colombia (8) and Chile (7).
Argentina (with DeporTV), Brazil (Esporte Interativo) and Venezuela (Meridiano TV) were the only countries to have a FTA sports TV channel – which in the cases of Esporte Interactivo and Meridiano TV were also carried by some of the local pay-TV operators.
The first two OTT sports video services to launch in Latin America (both in the Second Half of 2012) were operating in Brazil and Chile. While in the former Esporte Interativo Plus was offering a subscription-based service featuring live coverage of multiple sports, in the Andean nation Estadio CDF was exclusively dedicated to football.