Portuguese top-flight club Benfica, which plans to move the screening of league matches to its own Benfica TV, will be "forced by the country's anti-trust authority to allow all national pay-TV operators to access the broadcasts," according to Filipe Alves of REUTERS. The team with the largest fanbase in Portugal re-elected Luis Filipe Vieira as its president on Saturday after he "pledged to move the broadcasting of league matches" to the club's TV channel to increase revenues. The move has made TV operators in the profitable business uneasy given Benfica "matches top TV audiences in Portugal week in, week out." Market analysts believe the club's large viewing base suggests that, after matches move to Benfica TV, the club "will not be able to negotiate TV rights with one pay-TV operator alone because it would violate fair-competition rules." In a research note, analysts at BPI bank in Lisbon wrote, "We expect the anti-trust authority to step in and make sure the broadcasting of Benfica TV may be done by all pay-TV operators." They added that the regulator will "force Benfica to give all five of Portugal's operators a fair chance to bid" (REUTERS, 10/30).
Super Sports Media Group has been awarded the exclusive live audio visual broadcast rights to all 380 Premier League matches per season for seasons '13-14 through '18-19 in China and Macau. Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore said, "The main reason for agreeing a six year partnership with Super Sports is our recognition of their innovative and successful business model, and that their coverage and reach makes our matches available to fans in all provinces across China and Macau (Premier League).
CHA-CHING: In London, David Bond wrote the league's "cash registers were ringing to the sound of yet more foreign TV cash." Following Monday's announcement of a deal with NBC Sports Group, Scudamore, in Beijing on Tuesday, revealed a six-year extension to its current deal with Chinese TV partner Super Sport. Having "secured a staggering £3B ($4.8B) for the league's domestic TV rights" for three years between '13 and '16, Scudamore "is not seeking to beat the existing overseas rights deals, which is worth another £1B ($1.6B). Scudamore said that although the league has only concluded one-fifth of its new overseas deals, "he is confident of raising more income this time around." Rather than "turning foreign broadcasters off, the unseemly soap opera, which provides a backdrop to football in this country, just seems to add to the attraction." Scudamore said that the league is now "moving into a whole new phase in its global development." In the past the league looked for the best offer, often from new pay-TV operators, but now it is "looking for a greater reach and bigger audiences" (BBC.com, 10/30).