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Sportfive nets third-party rights to Brazil, Argentina’s home W/Cup qualifiers

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A key piece of the puzzle in the South American media-rights market has been solved ahead of the Conmebol Fifa World Cup qualifiers that get underway this week, with the Sportfive agency landing rights for matches involving Brazil and Argentina.

Sportfive has secured exclusive third-party media rights (territories outside of the two countries playing) to all home 2026 World Cup qualifiers of the two South American giants, having reached an agreement with two agencies: Brax for Brazil’s rights and Torneos for Argentina’s.

Brazil’s first home game in the World Cup qualifiers is against Bolivia on September 8, while world champions Argentina kick off their campaign tomorrow (Thursday) at home to Ecuador.

In addition, Sportfive will sell third-party media rights for all home friendlies played by Brazil outside of the Americas. This was a long-term contract previously held by the UK-based Pitch International agency that expired after the 2022 World Cup.

It is a significant contract win for Sportfive and comes less than a year after Pedro Cubillos returned to the agency tasked with overseeing media rights acquisitions and sales across Latin America.

Cubillos was with Lagardère Sports – renamed Sportfive in 2020 following the takeover by H.I.G. Capital – for close to a decade. In 2019 he set up Tribe Sports Marketing agency with former colleague Marco Gonzalez.

Thomas Klingebiel, president of media at Sportfive, said: “We are thrilled to have secured these exclusive media rights for the South American World Cup Qualifiers. This agreement reinforces Sportfive’s commitment to delivering top-tier sports content to a global audience.”

South American football governing body Conmebol does not sell collective rights to World Cup qualifiers in the region. Rather, the football federations sell domestic and international rights to their respective home qualifiers and friendlies on an individual basis.

It means last-minute deals have often been required to ensure widespread exposure of the Conmebol World Cup qualifiers.

Just this week, SportBusiness reported clarity over Bolivia’s matches, after the Bolivian Football Federation (FBF) was granted domestic rights to its home World Cup qualifiers after a court ruled against a claim from Mediapro and Sports TV Rights, which bid for the rights in a tender earlier this year.

The FBF was granted a ‘constitutional protection’ by the Departmental Court of La Paz that will enable the federation to exploit the rights on its own FBF Play streaming platform, rather than selling the rights to a third party such as Sports TV Rights or Mediapro.

Days earlier, and before the FBF had the legal right to sell Bolivia’s matches, Brazilian broadcaster Globo secured exclusive rights to the home matches of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.

This secured the broadcaster’s near-universal coverage of the qualifiers in Brazil, as it had already retained domestic rights to the Brazilian national team’s home World Cup qualifying matches and friendlies until 2026.

Mediapro holds international rights to all of Peru’s home qualifiers and friendlies over the quadrennial period between World Cups. It also holds global media and marketing rights to the international matches of Chile in conjunction with the 1190 Sports agency over the 2023-26 period.

Aside from the individual sales, a quartet of South American football associations banded together in May to sell media rights to their home 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers on a collective basis, in what experts regarded as a step in the right direction for the region’s international football rights market.

The Uruguayan Football Association (AUF), Paraguayan Football Association (APF), Ecuadorian Football Federation (EFE) and Venezuelan Football Federation (FVF) issued a joint Request for Proposal (RFP) on May 18, initially giving interested parties until June 8 to submit bids. No deals have been confirmed following the tender, however, Mediapro is understood to be the favourite to acquire the rights.

Six South American nations will qualify automatically for the 2026 World Cup in USA-Mexico-Canada (up from five at Qatar 2022) and with one other entering an inter-confederation playoff, only three nations will be automatically ruled out of qualification.

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Anniversary: PUNCHERS perfect winning strategies as Agali opens Media Amalgamated training

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With just eight more days before the kick-off of the highly anticipated novelty match between The PUNCHERS and Media Amalgamated team as part of celebrations of the 50th anniversary of The PUNCH, The PUNCHERS worked on their winning strategies on Friday at the Mountain Top University, Magboro, Ogun State.

 

The PUNCHERS go up against Media Amalgamated, a select group of journalists from Tribune, Nation, Vanguard, ThisDay, Leadership, Telegraph and The Guardian newspapers at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan, Lagos February 24.

 

The highly anticipated and potentially explosive novelty match marks the commencement of an array of epoch-making activities for the 50th-anniversary celebration of Nigeria’s most-read newspaper.

 

In the second training session held at the team’s home ground, Mountain Top University, along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the PUNCHERS, with 31 players from different departments of the company and coaches by AFCON 1992 bronze medallist, Friday Ekpo, intensified training ahead of the clash.

PUNCHERS’ veteran midfielder, Godspower Otor, said along with his teammates, they would concentrate on training and do their talking on the pitch.

“I read what one of our opponents said that they would flog us and I just laughed,” he said.

 

“We will allow them do their talkings in the media while we focus on training and allow the results to do justice. We are focused and training hard, our coach Friday Ekpo is not leaving any stone unturned as he ensures we get our movements and tactics right.

Friday’s training focused on our strategy, which we will perfect before the game day and I am sure we will be ready for the encounter.”

 

The PUNCHERS will have their third training on Saturday (today) as they intensify preparations for the novelty game against Media Amalgamated.

 

Former Super Eagles forward and bronze medallist at the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations, Victor Agali, has been handed the task of coaching the Media Amalgamated team, who have their first training session today at the Legacy Pitch of the National Stadium, Lagos.

 

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Ivory Coast vs. Nigeria: How to watch Africa Cup of Nations, TV channel and live stream

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The Africa Cup of Nations will see a true heavyweight clash as hosts Ivory Coast take on Nigeria in Group A.

Back on Saturday, Les Éléphants started AFCON off well, notching a 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau in the tournament’s opening match.

However, one day later the Super Eagles were stunned by Equatorial Guinea, and needed a Victor Osimhen goal to come back for a 1-1 draw.

That leaves Nigeria in need of a result — and possibly even a win — to avoid a must-win situation during the final round of group-stage matches. A loss would leave a star-studded side on the brink of elimination.

For Ivory Coast, meanwhile, a win would guarantee a place in the knockout stages, and a draw in Group A’s other match would secure the top spot in the section.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the match.

Ivory Coast vs. Nigeria (AFCON)
When: Thursday, Jan. 18
Where: Olympic Stadium of Ebimpé (Ivory Coast)
Time: 12 p.m. ET
Channel/streaming: beIN SPORTS, Fubo

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Elegbeleye: NPFL Broadcast Rights still Available, No Exclusivity

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Companies seeking to acquire Broadcast rights of the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) have been invited to approach the league body with offers for negotiation.

Chairman of the NPFL, Hon Gbenga Elegbeleye on Wednesday clarified that the adopted marketing approach of the board is for non-exclusivity which has not foreclosed the signing up of more rights holders.

Elegbeleye described as shocking, claims by an individual alleging that there was an offer for $11m dollars to the NPFL for the rights before the StarTimes deal was executed.

“For the avoidance of doubt and for public records, the NPFL and StarTimes deal took months to conclude and all through the duration of our negotiations, nobody approached us with any offer”, explained the NPFL Chairman.

He further narrated efforts of the defunct Interim Management Committee (IMC) to attract a Broadcast partner including getting the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) to broker a meeting with Supersport which at the end didn’t express interest in taking up the offer.

“The NPFL has an office in Abuja and the facilitator of the said $11m offer knows this place and has contacts of the NFF President. We are still very much open to negotiating as our deal with StarTimes provides for a third-party investor. 

“Let the person please come to our office or to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) because we are still open for more partnerships in the Broadcast space”.

The NPFL boss explained that the unbundling of the broadcast bouquet has made it possible to accommodate multiple partners

“It is obvious that we have unbundled the broadcast products and segmented the number of matches any rights owner can show every matchday. So there is still a window to accommodate genuine interests in our league broadcast partnership”, declared Elegbeleye, who also is the NFF’s Second Vice President.

Faulting claims that the League fail foul of the Public Procurement Act which governs sales of government assets in the country, the former member of the Federal House of Representatives, said, “The NPFL is incorporated as a private company limited by guarantee at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and is not captured in government funding.

“We do not receive funding from the Government but run our programme from money generated through sponsorships and we operate a transparent system that accounts for sponsors/investors’ funds to maintain the integrity of the league.

“In any case, we have made sufficient noise right from the inception of the IMC and we were able to have the very successful Super 6 on television, so there’s no person in the industry who is not aware that the League hasn’t been on television for the past six years. Where were they”? he retorted.

So far, the NPFL has secured two Broadcast Partners in Propel Sports Africa (PSA) for the Over The Top (OTT) platform and StarTimes for the Direct To Home (DTH) cable platform.

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