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Fox-Turner wins rights to televise Argentine soccer

US-based TV giant Fox-Turner has been awarded the rights by the Argentine Football Association (AFA) to broadcast top-flight Argentine soccer for the next five years, seeing off competition from Mediapro (Spain) and ESPN (US) for the rights.
As such, from August onwards the group will take over broadcasting from the Fútbol para todos programme between the state and the AFA that broadcast soccer free-to-air with the support of public funds. First introduced in the Kirchnerite era, the Mauricio Macri administration brought that programme to an end almost three years before it was set to expire in September 2019, and after a run of nine years of games on public broadcasters.
The agreement sets out an initial down payment of 1.2 billion pesos, plus another three billion pesos for the first year of the five-year contract, which is renewable for another five years. Each year of the contract is worth 3.2 billion pesos in revenue for the AFA, which will then have to distribute it internally among the clubs.
In comparison, the AFA received 1.8 billion pesos from the state for the rights in 2016.

Commitments
A brief AFA statement this week announced that Fox-Turner had been given three days to exclusively honour commitments made in their proposal in February. Several media outlets have reported that the winning bid was accompanied by a commitment to drop litigation against the AFA if it won the contract.
In addition to the funds that the AFA will collect from Fox-Turner, there will also be penalty fees for the early cancellation of the Fútbol para todos contract paid by the state, as well as from sponsors.
“The arrival of a new player in the televising of soccer is a step forward because there will be greater economic benefits for the clubs,” Racing Club President Víctor Blanco told Télam.
It is understood that Torneos y Competencias, a local media company, will produce the programme as it did up to 2009 and subscribers of Cablevisión, DirecTV and Telecentro will be able to watch games.
How precisely the clubs divvy up the funds will become clearer if the long-trailed Superliga kicks off in August. That tournament will reportedly be run by San Lorenzo Vice-President Marcelo Tinelli and River President Marcelo D’Onofrio, as part of a deal that would ensure that Claudio “Chiqui” Tapia, president of Club Atlético Barracas Central of the Primera B Metropolitana becomes the next AFA president.
The broadcast deal comes a week after Argentine players ended a strike that delayed the start of the season by one weekend. Many players in the financially troubled league, especially in the lower divisions, were owed up to five months in salaries and in total, there were around 80 days between the ending of the last half of the tournament and this.

End of an era
The Macri administration confirmed in July of 2016 that it had agreed to terminate the state’s contract with the Argentine Football Association (AFA) for the broadcasting of Fútbol para todos.
The decision was something that most local soccer clubs have reiterated their request the last couple of weeks and — though the government has acceded to the demand — it insisted at the time that it will continue broadcasting soccer matches free of charge “without (any) additional costs” until 2019. In hindsight, it would appear that the commitment to broadcast games free of charge through to 2019 was too rash.
The purchase of TV rights allowing soccer matches to be broadcast free of charge began under the previous government led by former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner after she agreed to a deal with late AFA chief Julio Grondona in August 2009 to air games involving local clubs on public television.
Clubs wanted to end the contract in order to bring in more cash through a bidding process for future TV rights.
Last week, the government offered 2.5 billion pesos, but AFA officials rejected the proposal, arguing it was insufficient.
Mauricio Macri’s Chief-of-Staff Fernando de Andreis delivered the first formal answer to the clubs’ request to terminate the contract for the broadcasting of local soccer matches, which started in 2009 and was set to end in 2019.                     w
Herald with agencies                       
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