AFA Defines its TV Future

At a time of institutional crisis for the largest entity in Argentine soccer, the future of the local tournament's TV rights is up for grabs. Will there be a SuperLiga? The only thing certain is the future birth of AFA TV.

The Argentine Soccer Association (AFA) is going through times of trouble. Argentine producer and TV host, Marcelo Tinelli, stepped down from his role as VP of the association, generating notable cracks in its foundation.

Tinelli is part of a group of directors who pushed the creation of a SuperLiga, similar to Europe's leagues (Premiere League, La Liga), which would be separate from the AFA and, more importantly, negotiate its TV rights independently from the rest.

As it happened years ago in England, the most important teams want this new entity to be created. Tinelli's resignation, VP of San Lorenzo, would be one of many, as Rodolfo D'Onorio (president of River Plate), Daniel Angelici (president of Boca Juniors), Matías Lammens (president of San Lorenzo) and Víctor Blanco (president of Racing), would follow.

Luis Segura, president of AFA, made his position available, but described the situation as much more complex: "The AFA's problems are so big that my resignation is irrelevant."

In addition, the president of Independiente, Hugo Moyano, main candidate to win the upcoming AFA elections, accused his colleagues of "emptying the AFA."

He said: "They want to vacate the ADA to make someone responsible, when they're the ones who are responsible. Those who demand a solution are those who want to destroy AFA."

Moyano leads a group of clubs who are opposed to the organization of a SuperLiga as it's presented. Angelici said: "They support the project or we will organize a tournament outside the AFA with 14 teams." This may sound like an empty threat, since playing outside the AFA would leave the clubs outside any international competition.


According to the project presented in May, the distribution of the money generated from broadcasting the potential SuperLiga would be: 80% for the First Division teams, 10% for the Second Division and 10% for AFA directives.

From the money that would be in the hands of the First Division teams, half of it would be split among all the teams, while the other half would be split based on a merit system: 25% according to ratings, 20% based on performance and 5% based on the number of members.

The TV rights will be licensed until 2030, with broadcast staying free until 2019, as demanded by the Argentine government. The rights include TV streaming, of course, which all parties say is the key to the business from here on out.

The model would also be a blow to the idea of AFA TV, a network that the association is planning to launch with an international company, which could potentially be Turner Broadcasting System. According to the project, he network could broadcast only the national team's games.


Amidst this troublesome scenario, an element that repeats itself is the launch of AFA TV. The former president, Julio Grondona's dream, is closer and closer, while the future election at the AFA and the SuperLiga have complicated things.

"Moyano and Tinelli told me to start the Ferrari," Horacio Genari, consultant for the AFA and director of the AFA TV project, said, explaining that no matter the outcome, AFA TV will see the light.

To make this happen, first it must find a partner, and according to several media outlets, Turner is one of the most interested groups in the project.

The US company would make an ideal partner for the association. AFA TV would be an anonymous, independent association in which AFA would be the majority stakeholder.

AFA TV would be an integral platform: cable, streaming, broadcast TV, TDA and social networks. The business would also include Cablevision (grupo Clarin) and Directv, demanded by Turner, according to Argentine media.

It would be the first time in the history of the AFA to manage its TV rights independently, negotiating directly with no third parties.

All that's left to see is how powerful AFA TV would be without a SuperLiga.

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