Televisa, America Movil Can Keep Exclusive Deals, Regulator Says

Jun 04, 2014 12:01 am ET

June 4 (Bloomberg) -- America Movil SAB and Grupo Televisa SAB are being permitted by Mexican officials to keep their current deals to broadcast exclusive sports programming, though they can’t strike similar agreements in the future for certain events.

The Federal Telecommunications Institute, or IFT, said a regulation passed last week that limits the companies’ ability to acquire exclusive programming rights doesn’t apply retroactively, the agency said in a statement.

Televisa, which gets about 70 percent of Mexico’s broadcast audience, has rights to broadcast World Cup soccer matches in Mexico this year and in 2018 and 2022, though it hasn’t said how many of those games are exclusive. America Movil, which has an online video network, has an exclusive deal to broadcast the 2016 Olympic games.

Those agreements are unaffected by the IFT’s new rule, which was meant to increase competition by letting smaller rivals gain access to widely viewed events.

“In other words, nothing is going to happen with that regulation,” said Jose Otero, an analyst at Signals Telecom Consulting, in a Twitter message. “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Under last week’s IFT ruling, Televisa and America Movil are forbidden from buying exclusive rights to the Mexican soccer league finals, the Mexican national men’s soccer team matches, the Summer Olympics opening and closing ceremonies and a selection of World Cup soccer matches.

The agency singled out the two companies for the ban because it has found them dominant in their industries.