By Jonathan Copping, Sports Lawyer, Bolt Burdon Law Firm, London, United Kingdom
ESPN Brazil currently share the broadcasting rights of Premier League matches with Fox, however, from the 2019/20 season until 2012/22 season, ESPN Brazil will have exclusive rights. The price paid by ESPN has not been confirmed, although the current deal that ESPN Brazil has in place is reported to be worth $50 million per year, so it is expected that the new deal agreed will be in excess of the current deal.
The Executive Chairman of the Premier League, Richard Scudamore stated:
“ESPN has done a fantastic job broadcasting the Premier League in Brazil for the last 15 seasons and we are very pleased they have again chosen to invest in our broadcasting rights. They have a track record of delivering first-rate production and expert analysis that have driven interest in Premier League clubs, and in the competition. We look forward to working with them for the next five seasons to make the best Premier League action available to football fans across the country”.
With a population of approximately 200 million and with football being the national sport, Brazil could be seen as a major broadcasting market for the Premier League. The relatively close time difference to England is another factor that makes the Premier League appealing to a Brazilian audience.
The appeal of the Premier League is further helped by the fact that several of the Brazilian national team, currently play for leading Premier League clubs. In 2016/17, David Luiz and Willian played key roles in helping Chelsea win the league. Roberto Firmino and Philippe Countinho excelled as Liverpool qualified for the Champions League and the highly-regarded 20-year-old Gabriel Jesus joined Manchester City. On 8 June 2017 Manchester City paid £34.7 million to Benfica for Brazilian goalkeeper, Ederson.
ESPN also own broadcasting rights to show Premier League matches in a number of other South American countries, including, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador, however, the broadcasting rights in those countries are owned by EPSN Latin America, which is a separate company to ESPN Brazil.
This latest deal provides evidence that broadcasters’ confidence remains high in the Premier League. That is good news for both the Premier League as it aims to remain the most lucrative association football league in the world. It is also good news for Premier League clubs, whose revenue is in part due to the amount the Premier League receives from selling broadcasting rights around the world.
Jonathan Copping can be contacted by e-mail at ‘JonathanCopping@boltburdon.co.uk’