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SBD Global/November 6, 2013/Media

Mexican Billionaire Carlos Slim Selling Winter Olympic Broadcast Rights To Mexico's Canal 22

Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim's telecom company América Móvil has agreed to sell the exclusive Mexican broadcast rights of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games "to government-owned television channel Canal 22," according to Dolia Estevez of FORBES. Slim's spokesperson, Arturo Elias Ayub, declined to "say how much Canal 22 will pay for the rights, arguing that 'it’s a private deal.'" Elías did not say if the agreement "includes the broadcast rights for the 2016 Summer Games, which América Móvil also owns." Canal 22 is a "government-owned cultural TV channel which has a small audience compared to Mexico’s TV duopoly, Televisa and TV Azteca." Details of the agreement will be "known on Wednesday, when it is expected to be signed in Mexico City." Mexican TV expert Jenaro Villamil said, "For Slim and América Móvil, it’s clear that the deal is a way to gain access to open TV broadcasting without having to depend on Televisa or TV Azteca. The relationship between Slim and Televisa and TV Azteca fractured in 2011 around the 'advertising wars.'" Slim stopped advertising with Televisa and TV Azteca in '11 after a "dispute over phone rates and TV advertising rates." Villamil opined that the deal blurs Canal 22's "original purpose" and said, "Canal 22 could now be perceived as a channel that is 'for rent' or 'for sale' in the future." América Móvil in March won the exclusive broadcast rights to the winter Olympic Games and the "rights to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, for all of Latin America (with the exception of Brazil)." Neither Slim nor the IOC "revealed at that time the amount that América Móvil paid for the exclusive rights in Latin America," but Mexican analysts estimated it at $110M. The broadcasting deal "gave Slim a foot in the door to try to enter the paid TV market, which he can now do thanks to the Mexican anti-monopoly telecommunication bill approved earlier this year" (FORBES, 11/4).
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