Sunday, July 22, 2007

Brazil's clubs look to Asia for new television income

With their two top representatives, League and FIFA Club World Cup champion Sao Paulo and Copa Libertadores champion Internacional, generating annual incomes of only US$ 64 million and US$ 56 million respectively, Brazil's professional football clubs are looking for new income streams to ensure their financial stability. This was reinforced at the special commemorations of the 20th anniversary of the founding of Clube dos 13, the organisation now defending the rights of the 20 biggest clubs in the country. Acting as marketing agent to protect their collective interest in the Campeonato Brasileiro and other tournaments, the group has been able to raise revenue to the clubs from television and radio rights from only R$ 10 million in 1997 to R$ 300 million (US$ 160 million) today.

Now the challenge is generating world-wide interest in Brazil club football to generate foreign television income. English Premier League clubs, for instance, now receive a minimum of US$20 million each just from foreign broadcasts of Premiership games.

"We have finalised some important decisions in our project to conquer markets in Asia, the Middle East and Africa,” Clube dos 13 president Fabio Koff told club delegates. “I’ve been on a pilgrimage to different countries for five months and have secured important partnerships ... We’re arriving in Asia very late,” Koff said. “English football has already put down roots there and we need to do better marketing than our competitors to sell ourselves at better prices.”

However Clube dos 13 is also looking at how it can improve its domestic broadcasting contract when the current one with Globo expires next year. The contract is expected to be contested by Globo and Record. One of Clube dos 13's proposed changes is to sell pay-tv, terrestrial, internet and mobile phone rights separately. Another relates to partner agreements. The C13 intends to oblige future rights holders to exhibit the brands of sponsors stamped on backdrops behind footballers giving interviews. Globo currently only uses its own logos - superimposed over players - when they give interviews.

“Our aim is to include this clause as the club partner is not incompatible with the firm which purchases the competition,” Koff said, as quoted by Soccer Investor. “When we enter the international market we’re going to have multinational firms from all over the world, increasing the value of our product.”

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