After the Argentine Football Association (AFA) officially confirmed the return of the Professional Football League in the country starting next Friday, October 30th with the ‘Copa Liga Profesional 2020’, the specialized website Doble Amarilla (and later other local websites) reported that the 24 clubs that will participate in the competition decided to cancel the agreement for the audiovisual rights of the tournament, accusing ESPN and Fox (Disney) of ‘serious breaches’ of their obligations.
In a meeting with Argentine football leaders, it was voted in favor of cancelling the terms of the agreement with Fox, one of the two companies that, since 2017, has the rights to broadcast 50% of the matches of the Argentine Professional Football League through Fox Sports. The conflict began when Disney started to implement the merger with Fox in Argentina after having acquired the firm globally, in March 2019. According to several specialized websites, Fox Sports did not report the merger with ESPN after being acquired by Disney, which leads to a ‘serious breach’ of the audiovisual agreement terms. The text of the agreements states that any change must be reported within 30 days, but Disney did not report the news. Although there is still no final decision from the country’s Internal Commerce Ministry on the Disney-Fox merger in Argentina, the Competition Defense National Commission (CNDC) has already issued an opinion recommending to reject the operation, because it could cause monopolical actions.
Since 2017, Argentine Professional Football League’s matches were broadcast through Fox Sports Premium and TNT Sports (Turner) premium TV channels, which divided the matches equally. Faced with the cancellation of the broadcasting agreement with Fox, one of the possible alternatives is for TNT Sports to acquire all of the league’s matches (the company has priority in the negotiation). New companies may also enter the business, or, as it was already reported days ago, some matches could be broadcast through TV Publica, a State FTA TV channel.