Argentine Soccer Has Many Suitors

The US company met with the Argentine government and the AFA managers to express its interest in participating in the upcoming tender for the rights to the local soccer league. In addition, rumors grow about it potentially acquiring Telefe.

The new Argentine government, led by Mauricio Macri as president, has no interest in managing the rights and broadcasts for local soccer, thus soon the Argentine Soccer Association (AFA) will host a tender looking for a new owner.

In this scenario, Turner Broadcasting System, the US company, has expressed its interest in acquiring the rights.

The local press reported on this issue after the company's directors met with government authorities, revealing an alleged offer of 1.65 billion dollars a year, a number similar to what the government is paying the AFA now.

However, the information changed following a new meeting between Turner and AFA directors, held a few days ago. The meeting was attended by Whit Richardson, VP of Distribution and Marketing, and Victor Roldan, VP of Legal Affairs. The AFA was represented by president Luis Segura, and managers Claudio Tapia, Damián Dupelliet, Hugo Moyano and Daniel Angelici.

According to La Nacion, the AFA is looking to get US$ 3 billion dollars a year for 20 years, where broadcasts would have to still be free for the first three years and then expand to different business models and subscription platforms, same as streaming services for the NBA and other international leagues.

The AFA understands its asking for a lot –it's estimated that earnings from ad sales don't surpass 700 million a year- but it's willing to negotiate and analyze offers in the upcoming tender, which could take place as soon as next month.

The AFA and the Argentine government's contract lasts through 2019, but it's clear that it will be terminated by both sectors. The government demands that whoever takes hold of the rights continues to broadcast the games for free until 2019, minimizing or delaying the political cost of the decision.

Other than Turner, companies like FOX, Artear by Clarin, Directv, IMG, Torneos, GolTV byFrancisco Casal and Arab company Al-Jazeera would also be interested in the tender.


Turner's interest in the rights to Argentine soccer is even more logic if related to the rumored acquisition of Telefe. Multiple sources say the US company is negotiating the potential acquisition of the Argentine channel in a number close to US$ 400 million. Other news outlets say Amèrica is its plan B.

Whichever the channel, Turner could broadcast the main games, abiding by the government's demand. The rest of the games could be negotiated to other channels.

This isn't the first time Turner is interested in Argentine soccer (it did back in 2015 as well), but it seems this time it's closer than ever.

Turner has its second largest office in Argentina, behind its main headquarters in Atlanta. The company operates 15 pay TV channels, none for soccer.

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