MEXICO CITY — Sunday’s Super Bowl is highly unlikely to air on terrestrial TV in Mexico after negotiations among Televisa and TV Azteca and the National Football League broke down.
The three have been wrangling over broadcast rights since late summer, but have been unable to reach a deal, possibly preventing the league’s games from airing in the country.
The NFL abandoned hopes of securing a regular-season deal in September and began discussions for the playoffs. Those also failed and in recent weeks talks with Televisa and Azteca for Super Bowl XXXVIII got nowhere, according to the league’s Mexican offices.
It’s the first time in 36 years that the regular season wasn’t shown on terrestrial TV in Mexico. And for Mexican viewers, Sunday’s match will be the first dark championship since Super Bowl I, between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Insiders at both nets claimed the league’s asking price is too high and said it is demanding the broadcast of many more regular-season games than it had in other years.
Now the league office, headed by Will Wilson, said it will begin talks for next season.
The situation has jeopardized the American Bowl, a pre-season matchup of two pro U.S. teams that has been held in Mexico seven times, most recently in 2001.
“For the moment, we are not contemplating holding an American Bowl in Mexico, because what helped us a great deal in the past to hold it was the transmission deal we had with Televisa,” Wilson said.
On Sunday, Mexican football fans will have to watch the Patriots battle the Panthers via cable, on Fox Sports or ESPN feeds.