Organizaçoes Globo, Brazil's top media company, is
putting together a more aggressive soccer strategy to boost its pay TV business.
Globo and its pay TV programming arm, Globosat, signed a
trio of agreements late last month with Clube dos 13, the association of the country's top
16 soccer teams.
The agreements call for the creation of a yet-to-be-named
soccer channel for pay TV, the formation of a company that will negotiate soccer rights
internationally and the extension until 2004 of Globo's exclusive rights to Brazilian
"Nowadays, sports are a key tool in the pay TV
market," said Marcelo Pinto, a Globo lawyer who is in charge of the company's
"The deal represents an important boost to Globosat
and the Net/Sky operations," Pinto added, referring to Globo cable-operations arm Net
and Sky Latin America, the direct-to-home platform part-owned by Globo.
The planned soccer channel -- a 50-50 joint venture between
Globosat and Clube dos 13 -- is scheduled to bow in January. It'll be sold to Net and Sky
subscribers in Brazil as a premium channel, featuring daily live and taped matches from
the country's top soccer leagues from 6 p.m. to midnight, plus sports-news programming.
At the same time, the channel will transmit local-market
matches, which have previously been available as part of a pay-per-view package.
Globo also renewed its contract with Clube dos 13 for the
exclusive domestic rights to the national soccer league for the 2002, 2003 and 2004
seasons. The contract -- which covers broadcast-TV, pay TV and PPV rights -- is worth $436
Globo and Clube dos 13 will create a joint-venture company
to sell international TV rights to Brazilian soccer. That entity plans to offer exclusive
world rights to Brazil's top local leagues in annual packages of 80 to 90 matches, plus 52
soccer-news programs tailor-made for audiences abroad. The idea is to sell global rights
to the package to a single company, which would then syndicate it in individual markets.
In the second half of this year, the companies plan to
offer the foreign market a smaller package of 40 matches from this season's national
league. Globo and Clube dos 13 are considering pricing this package at $7.5 million, Pinto
said, adding that one foreign company, which he declined to identify, has already agreed
to pony up the $7.5 million fee.
Until last year, international rights to Brazilian soccer
were held by ESPN International, which had paid $750,000 for them. ESPN officials here
didn't return phone calls seeking comment.