In a sign of its rapidly maturing VOD market, Mexico’s most prominent soccer team Chivas is launching its own OTT platform on July 1, just weeks before the next Liga games kick off on July 23.
Based in Mexico’s second largest city, Guadalajara, the team is owned by Mexican billionaire Jorge Vergara, founder of dietary supplement firm Omnilife and a sometime film producer who backed Alfonso Cuaron’s “Y tu Mama Tambien” and Niels Mueller’s “The Assassination of Richard Nixon” through his shingle Producciones Anhelo. Vergara is said to be boarding Carlos Saura’s “33 Days,” starring Antonio Banderas. The Spanish actor attended the Guadalajara Int’l Film Festival in March to give a Master Class and meet with Vergara about the long-gestating Pablo Picasso project.
Vergara, who purchased the Chivas soccer club in 2002, announced in May that the club would not renew its broadcasting pact with Televisa, thus ending a 22-year run. “In just the past eight years, Televisa paid us $14.8 million annually for broadcast rights to our games. This year, they offered to pay us only $6 million, which is absurd,” said Chivas TV/Omnilife Director General-CEO Jose Luis Higuera. “The Chivas club has up to 40 million fans worldwide, that’s why we’re starting this channel,” he added.
Chivas TV will be available worldwide but only partly in the U.S. where Spanish-language network Univision has the U.S. broadcasting rights to Chivas games for the next two years, after which they will revert back to Chivas. Until then, only complementary programming will be streaming in the U.S.
In the short term, Chivas TV will feature Chivas games as well as pre-game build up, post-game analysis and those of club’s lower-category teams, said Higuera. In the longer term, other sports news will be included.
While reluctant to go into into specifics, Higuera said there would be three pricing tiers, limited, standard and premium.
Chivas TV joins the growing OTT market in Mexico which is currently dominated by SVOD giant Netflix, followed by local streaming platforms ClaroVideo, owned by billionaire Carlos Slim’s America Movil, and most recently Televisa’s Blim.
According to the IFTA report on Mexico, the country accounts for 45.6% of all OTT/VOD subscriptions in Latin America with a total 4.04 million subscribers nationwide as of June 2015.