Lack of economic viability will have reduced the diffusion of the I Liga abroad

Some of the stations in Brazil, France and England, where thousands of Portuguese emigrants reside, have not renewed their television broadcasting rights agreements for the competition.

The « lack of economic viability » may have led some television operators to dispense with the transmission of I Liga games in countries such as Brazil, France and England, recognizes expert Daniel Sá.

« This is always a return on investment. I invest X to earn Y. That’s how it works in every country in the world. If there was this decision in three of them, it is assumed that the reason will be the lack of economic viability. They are not good news for the I Liga, but I frame them within the market movements that we are verifying », said the executive director of the Portuguese Institute of Marketing Administration to the Lusa agency.

Days before the start of the 2023/24 edition of the championship, the press reported that some of the stations in Brazil, France and England, where thousands of Portuguese emigrants reside, had not renewed their television broadcasting rights agreements.

« The big losers are the supporters, mostly Portuguese, who are no longer able to follow their favorite teams. The second impact should be financial, because, at least for now, some source of direct television broadcast revenue disappears. Third, it ends up being visibility being withdrawn from the clubs themselves », he listed.

SportTV broadcasts all matches in the I Liga on national territory, with the exception of those taking place at the home of national champions Benfica, which are the responsibility of BTV, and in September 2022, it extended the agreement with RTP for two seasons to the broadcasting of a game in each of the 34 matchdays on the international channels of the public broadcaster.

« Given the work that the Portuguese Professional Football League (LPFP) has been doing and because we are closer to having television broadcasting rights in Portugal started to be negotiated in a centralized manner, I believe that we will be experiencing a temporary situation. when will the problem be resolved, but I have no doubt that the I Liga will be broadcast again sooner or later in the three countries mentioned and, probably, even in better conditions », stressed Daniel Sá.

Suggesting as factors for the drop in broadcasts the « very large imbalance in competitiveness » of the I Liga and the « overdose of the football product », the specialist also highlights the impact of a « significant crisis », which affects the « purchase predisposition of spectators and companies », in addition to the international projection of « new competitors ».

« As in all markets, there are products that become more or less interesting. Two of them were practically non-existent or had little global visibility, but they have gained great importance in recent months. The North American League already had its leading role, but it took a huge boost with Lionel Messi. In Saudi Arabia, the Ronaldo effect was seen and now there are dozens and dozens of players arriving. We don’t know where this wave ends, but it will not stop and creates a significant imbalance in the money available to the industry. In other words, we live in a turbulent period », he said.

One of the five axes of the strategic plan outlined by the LPFP towards the four-year period 2023-2027 is internationalization, but Daniel Sá warns that not only the organization depends on a « stronger, more salable and spectacular » I Liga, which, at this point, « is in a third European line and competes with the Brazilian, Saudi and American championships ».

According to the 2021/22 Professional Football Yearbook, audiovisual rights were the third largest source of revenue for I Liga emblems, with 177 million euros (M€), behind player transactions (291 M€) and the presence in European competitions (179 M€).

More than 24 million spectators watched the games in that edition on television, an average of 80,000 per match, with that medium being the main generator of value for the competition, contributing with €933m to a global media return of €1,349 €.

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