TNT Sports and SBT poised to share Champions League in Brazil until 2024
TNT Sports, the pay-television sports broadcaster owned by US media giant WarnerMedia, and SBT, the commercial network, are set to show European soccer’s Uefa Champions League in Brazil for the next three years.
Uefa and its agency partner Team Marketing are to confirm the broadcasting arrangements for the 2021-22 to 2023-24 cycle shortly, with incumbent TNT Sports, a subsidiary of Turner Brazil, to show all fixtures, according to reports in Brazil.
Meanwhile, SBT is poised to offer 15 matches per season, one per round from the group stage through to the final, with a choice of Tuesday and Wednesday games.
As and when confirmed, the deal will bring to an end coverage of Champions League matches in Brazil by social media giant Facebook, which is understood not to have submitted a proposal.
Uefa and Team launched the tender for the Champions League, Europa League and new Europa Conference League on 19 January, setting a deadline of 23 February for bids.
It is anticipated TNT Sports, formerly known as Esporte Interativo, will feature some games on pay-TV channels TNT and Space, with others on streaming service Estadio TNT Sports, renamed from EI Plus.
Uefa and Team are said to have been eager for an element of free-to-air TV coverage of the Champions League in Brazil in the next cycle to expand the reach, which has been impacted by being largely behind a paywall in recent years, amid increased interest in the exploits of national team stars including Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar.
This explains the involvement of SBT, although there was also reported interest from Globo, Brazil’s largest commercial broadcaster, which has previously shown the competition.
SBT has already increased its coverage of soccer by stepping in to become the free-to-air broadcaster of the Copa Libertadores, South America’s top clubs competition, after Globo pulled out of a four-year deal that was due to run to 2022.
In terms of the Champions League, SBT is thought to have been favoured over Globo in part because of its flexible broadcasting proposal and willingness to feature tournament sponsors.
SBT averaged a stellar 25.3 rating points for the all-Brazilian final of the Copa Libertadores, between Palmeiras and Santos, in January.
There have been two Uefa tenders in circulation in Brazil, one for the Champions League and Super Cup, and one for the secondary Europa League and new third-tier Europa Conference League.
The same applies in the rest of Latin America, with broadcasters having been given a deadline of 23 March for first round bids.
Pay-TV rights to the Champions League in Latin America for 2018-19 to 2020-2021 were snapped up by Fox Sports and ESPN, now both part of Walt Disney, while the free-to-air package was acquired by Facebook.
ESPN and Fox have also been showing the Europa League.