Portugal's Anti-Trust Authority To Allow National Pay-TV Operators Access To Benfica Broadcasts
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).