The cost of broadcast rights for Latin America’s six strongest football leagues has exceeded the US$ 1bn mark for the first time in the region’s history, according to new figures from Dataxis.
The research found that the main domestic professional football competitions organised by the local federations of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru attracted a combined US$ 1.07bn in TV revenues in 2012 – up by over 56% compared with 2011.
“Different local federations and professional football associations are currently experimenting with different business models to commercialise broadcast rights in Latin America,” said Juan Pablo Conti, senior analyst at Dataxis and author of the report.
“However, regardless of the approach they have been adopting, they have all been increasingly successful in making their margins grow.”
Broadcast rights for the “Brasileirão”, Brazil’s domestic first-division football league, were easily Latin America’s most expensive, worth over US$ 610mn in 2012 and accounting for nearly 57% of the regional total.
The Dataxis report also found that there were a total of 116 different dedicated TV channels broadcasting sports programming in Latin America’s seven main TV markets at the end of 2012.
High-definition sports TV networks are fast gaining space in the channel lineups of all of the large pay-TV operators, with Mexico exhibiting the largest number of HD sports channels in the region (12), followed by Colombia (8) and Chile (7).
Argentina (with DeporTV), Brazil (Esporte Interativo) and Venezuela (Meridiano TV) were the only countries to have a free-to-air sports TV channel – which in the cases of Esporte Interactivo and Meridiano TV were also carried by some of the local pay-TV operators.
The second half of 2012 saw the launch of Latin America’s first over-the-top (OTT) sports video services, in Brazil (‘Esporte Interativo Plus’, featuring live coverage of multiple sports) and Chile (‘Estadio CDF’, dedicated to football).