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Broadcast rights for football have become the main battle ground for Portuguese telecom operators in recent weeks.
The last month of 2015 saw a frenzy of activity, with NOS snatching contracts with 10 football teams, more than half of Portugal’s Primera Liga. They include the country’s most popular football club Benfica, for which a 10-year contract worth €400 million was signed. However, it includes a “safeguard clause” that allows a review of the value if the amounts offered to rivals are higher.
A record sum of €446 million, also over 10 years, will be paid to Sporting, while 7-year contracts have been signed with Academica de Coimbra; Belenenses; Nacional de Madeira; Arouca; Paços de Ferreira; Maritimo; Sporting de Braga and Vitoria de Setubal (no figures were revealed).
For its part, Portugal Telecom’s Meo (owned by Altice) has so far managed to sign only a €457.5 million contract with FC Porto for its home matches. According to local media reports, Meo is close to signing contracts with other clubs, including Boavista and Vitória de Guimarães.
Other clubs for which the TV rights agreements are still to be signed include Rio Ave, Estoril, Moreirense, União da Madeira and Tondela.
Significantly, the contracts with the top clubs, besides the TV rights, also include varying aspects of sponsorship (on shirts, in-stadium) as well as exclusive distribution of the club TV channels.