Soccer clubs that signed contract with AT&T support provisional measure and increased competition in match broadcasts

2 July 2020

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro welcomed this Tuesday, at the Planalto Palace, a group of heads of eight first-tier soccer clubs: Athletico Paranaense, Bahia, Ceará, Coritiba, Fortaleza, Internacional, Palmeiras, and Santos.

The clubs declared support for Provisional Measure No. 984/2020, signed by President Bolsonaro, which establishes that broadcasting rights belong to the club that hosts the match, opening new possibilities of revenue sources. They also expressed a favorable view of other measures being discussed in the National Congress about sports legislation, such as the one involving the so-called company-club.

The group discussed matters addressed by Bill 3832, which would alter the pay TV law to allow telecommunications companies to invest directly in Brazilian sports content. The approval of this bill would solve the regulatory situation of AT&T in Brazil. Local legislation currently prohibits the same economic group from owning companies that operate in channel distribution (SKY) and content production (Turner).

The eight clubs signed a contract with Turner in 2016. Two years after the agreement, the Time Warner Group (Turner's controlling shareholder) was acquired by AT&T, creating one of the world's largest communication conglomerates. Now, Turner threatens to break the contract involving pay TV broadcasting rights in the 2020 Brazilian Championship.

Less than one year ago, the CEO of AT&T visited Brasília and met with President Bolsonaro, asking for support for changes in the pay TV law and promising to increase investments in the country.

The eight clubs were represented by the following officers: Robinson Passos de Castro e Silva (Ceará), Marcelo Cunha da Paz (Fortaleza), Eduardo Bastos De Barros and Sair Namur (Coritiba), Aguinaldo Coelho de Farias (Athletico), Maurício Galiotte and André Sica (Palmeiras), Guilherme Cortizo Bellintani (Bahia), Matheus Del Corso Rodrigues (Santos), and Marcelo Feijó de Medeiros (Internacional).

The heads of the clubs will also meet on Tuesday with the Speaker of the House of Representatives Rodrigo Maia, and with Senate Speaker Davi Alcolumbre.