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Football revenues in Latin America on the slide

Football distribution revenues in Latin America tumbled by close to 40% last year, with only limited signs of improvement in 2021, according to analysis by Dataxis.

According to the research outfit, football generated US$900 million across the region in 2020, down by 38% in dollars. Although 2021 is expected to be a recovery year, the business revenue metrics remain at very low historical levels and the industry is not showing signficant signs of improvement, according to Dataxis.

The premium services model contributed around 65% of revenues in 2020. With the suspension of local leagues due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most platforms had to cancel subscription charges for several months, leading to a year-on-year drop in income close to 40%.

This year some of the main Premium players have frozen their prices or applied discounts in local currency to attract audiences back, said the research company. In Q1 2021, the average revenue per subscriber for premium football was US$7.90, far below the 2019 level of US$10.

Until 2018, the average was around US$12, and ARPU has also fallen due to devaluations and loss of purchasing power, Dataxis said.

The basic channels broadcasting local soccer also experienced a decrease in distribution income of around 35%. They were affected by the drop of pay TV subscribers and by the strong adjustment by operators in their content spending.

According to Dataxis, these shifts could lead to contract renegotiations and digital distribution opportunities. In 2020, Globo and DAZN decided to cancel some of their sports rights in Brazil, leading to Federations and Clubs deploying their own digital platforms. GOL TV from Ecuador recently launched an OTT option to compensate for the loss of partners in the distribution of pay TV.