About a year ago, Atlético Paranaense and Coritiba, the most popular football (soccer) teams in Brazil’s southern state of Paraná were displeased. Globo TV’s bid for their derby’s broadcasting rights was lower than in the prior year. Paraná is not in the big league, but Globo had increased its bids for other states’ more traditional leagues such asRio Grande do Sul’ and Minas Gerais’. So the two rivals decided it was time to try something else, and announced their February 18, 2017 match would be broadcast on Youtube. It was a major Brazilian sports event for the Google subsidiary. At the last minute Youtube was blocked from streaming the match, with the players on the pitch and fans packing the stadium. The game was cancelled.
This year, both teams reached the regiona championship finals and Atlético Paranaense went a step further. It streamed the second match live on their Youtube channel, without consent from rival Coritiba or the state’s Football Federation. Lawyers from Globo TV managed to interrupt the clandestine broadcast, only to see the rest of the game on Atlético Paranaense’s Facebook page.
Picking up on this trend, Facebook announced three days ago an agreement to stream Libertadores da América, beginning with one game a week. Football (soccer) is Brazil’s most popular sport by far, Libertadores da América is the Latin American equivalent to UEFA’s Champions League, and this is a disruptive story. Globo TV, which is seeing a migration of advertising budgets to online platforms such as Facebook, is suffering an additional strong blow. And this could translate into losses for cable TV channels Fox Sports and SporTV, which traditionally air Libertadores.
And Brazilian cable TV companies had been whining about Netflix… They have no idea what’s in store for them!