Turkish SuperLig TV deal goes to the lower bidder…

March 8 – The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) has turned down the highest broadcast bid for the domestic TV rights to the SuperLig, instead preferring to go with an offer that is $50 million below the $150 million beIN/Digiturk had put on the table.

Saran Group have now been offered the opportunity to fufill on their offer for a series of packages that cover about 210 of the 380 SuperLig matches but excludes a package of games involving the biggest clubs.

Because the TFF was not getting close to the $500 million it had secured from beIN/Digiturk in 2015, it removed that package from the original tender after bids were received. The TFF has said once (and presumably if) the other packages are accepted by Saran, then the premium match package will be retendered.

Digiturk released a brief statement saying: “We note with interest the TFF and Tender Commission’s decision to decline a significantly higher and financially secure bid across all rights packages, particularly in the current conditions of uncertainty.  We acknowledge that TFF and the Tender Commission have a responsibility to act in the best interests of Turkish football.”

The TFF has been locked in a game of brinkmanship with Digiturk over its attempts to get the broadcaster to boost its offer. It believes the premium club package that it withdrew from the tender document has a much greater value and far closer to the $500 million Digiturk has previously paid.

Digiturk, who had multiple issues of piracy of its signal as well as face a campaign of abuse from Fenerbahce and its fans, refused to revalue its offer with a significantly higher guarantee but according to insiders did offer large revenue shares above the minimum guarantee.

That the TFF didn’t accept the offer suggests that it is not that confident in its own product in that it doesn’t believe it would beat the minimum guarantee. Frankly if Digiturk can’t hit the numbers then it is hard to see who can in Turkey.

The issue for clubs is now how they will survive with guaranteed broadcast revenues $400 million below what they were receiving at their peak. They are pinning their hopes on an upside and economic model that is still to be proven. The clubs have a combined debt of $750 million. The loss of Digiturk’s distribution will inevitably impact sponsor value as well as the quality of the teams the clubs can put on the field.

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