New Head of Portuguese League Wants More Teams & Collective TV Rights Deal

January 16, 2012

Mario Figueiredo, newly elected president of Portugal’s Professional football League is looking to new reforms after he requested the domestic Premier League add two extra teams and shift to a collective TV rights bargaining model which will increase clubs’ revenues.

Figueiredo, a 45-year-old lawyer, won a ballot vote on Thursday to become the head of the LPFP, the body that oversees the Portuguese Premier League, League Cup and Liga de Honra, the country’s second tier league.

“We will seek to widen the Portuguese Premier League to 18 clubs,” he said in a televised speech after taking charge, adding he would also focus on changing how the revenues from TV rights are distributed.

In Portugal, as well as in neighboring Spain, the bulk of audiovisual rights revenues are dominated by bigger clubs, with half of the revenues going to the so-called “big three” which includes Benfica, Porto and Sporting.

Yearly revenues from TV rights in Portugal are estimated at around 75 million euros ($95.98 million).

“We need to unite to implement a new model…a new mechanism of colective TV rights negotiations which will increase total and partial revenues for the clubs,” Figueiredo said, adding he wanted more support for smaller clubs.

Benfica, Porto and Sporting backed a rival candidate to Figueiredo for the LPFP presidency.

The president said he would defend football sponsorships by online betting agencies after a Portuguese court told digital, the world’s biggest listed online gaming company, to remove all advertising from national sports competitions earlier in the week.

“Governments in Portugal that have been in office since 2005 have to explain to the world why Real Madrid, Lyon, the International Basketball Federation and others can have sponsorships from betting houses and we cannot,” the LPFP president said. “This is a great opportunity to reform.”