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What: Chivas TV announces an alliance with Playmaker Media, part of NBC Sports, for the launch of Chivas TV 2.0; while Univision maintains U.S. broadcasting rights.
Why it matters: In 2016, Chivas TV bet on independent streaming and stopped broadcasting its games on open television in Mexico.

Amaury Vergara, Director of Chivas TV.

When the Chivas TV project was born a year ago, it was a small disaster—the signal was bad, its platform at the time was not ideal to support a large number of fans on it, and system faults caused inconvenience among end users. The Chivas team ended up closing deals with Cinépolis and Claro Video to be able to safely reach more people, both through TV and Internet.

“It was a year spent learning what the most real solution (to improve the platform) was in terms of investment and time,” Amaury Vergara, Director of Chivas TV, told Portada. “Broadcasting games every fortnight, [while at the same time] analyzing and planning improvements to the platform in order to comply with user requirements, is complicated,” he added.

Now, in its 2017 opening tournament, Chivas will be defending its League and Cup titles along with the debut of its broadcasts on a new world-class platform.

Chivas announced an agreement with Playmaker Media, a world-class platform backed by NBC, a pioneer in broadcasting sporting events online. Playmaker Media was launched in May 2016 to provide a point-to-point video support service to businesses in need of best-in-class live streaming and on-demand videos. Its portfolio includes the Olympic Games, the Tour de France, and World Cup Russia, with more than 100 million users connected simultaneously.

“We are looking for an ally that doesn’t sees us as only one more customer, but as [part of] a commercial strategy,” said Vergara. Chivas TV sought an ally that understood the team and was willing to commit long-term to the brand

We are looking for an ally that doesn’t sees us as only one more customer, but as [part of] a commercial strategy.

This means that NBC will be lending 100% of its infrastructure and support to reach the more than 80 million potential users in Mexico through mobile, and about 70 million users online. Of course, only a part of these numbers represent Chivas fans.

Chivas TV is the clearest example of the evolution of sports event broadcasting over the Internet. The team is globally innovative, being the only team so far – of any sport – that has decided to leave TV to broadcast its games exclusively on its own streaming platform.

It is the only team so far – of any sport – that has decided to leave TV to broadcast its games exclusively on its own streaming platform.

According to a statement by Amaury Vergara, Director of Chivas TV, the platform supports high and low-speed connections. Users in Mexico are affected by a lack of stable Internet connections, so NBC is promising that its platform will adapt automatically to the type of connection users have, be it cable, wireless or telephone.

For Vergara, the alliance with Playmaker and NBC “will place Chivas as a world-class platform.”

In commercial terms, Playmaker represents a strictly technical ally. “Everything related to sales and content remains in the hands of Chivas TV,” explained Vergara. What will be adjusted is the advertising, which will be maintained more comprehensively within the platform, so that it doesn’t invade the games but rather run alongside them.

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ChivasTVThe new and improved Chivas TV will cost 111 pesos per month and will be charged as a recurring payment. Users will have access to all LigaMX, Copa, U17, and U20 live matches.

As part of the promotion for the retooled Chivas TV, users who register now will be able to enjoy free access to the presentation of the team uniform, the Champion of Champions‘ match against the Tigres, and the friendly against Porto in Chivas Stadium.

In the U.S. and Puerto Rico, Chivas TV will offer different content, including live commentary and statistics, as well as post-match broadcasts and on-demand videos for its MX League and MX Cup home games. However, in these markets, Univision will continue to retain exclusive broadcast rights to the games.

“Univision has been a great ally, so we are open to negotiating for the league to continue its relationship with the channel,” Vergara said. There is still some time left on that contract, so the executive did not share what specific plans he may have in store with the U.S. channel.

For now, Chivas TV will broadcast portfolio matches in its U20 and U17 divisions, including live video and commentary, in the United States and Puerto Rico. The goal is for American users to become familiarized with using the platform, even if they cannot view the Chivas games live (although it does offer audio access to the games).

“What we want is to position the project as a digital platform, not as another channel,” Vergara adde.

What we want is to position the project as a digital platform, not as another channel.

The app is now available for IOS and Android.

What: Portada talked with Amaury Vergara Zatarain, director of the Chivas de Guadalajara soccer club, about how ChivasTV is here to change the business of televised soccer.
Why it matters: Since 2016, ChivasTV has endeavored to position one of LigaMX’s most recognized teams without having an open television presence. Now, the team is looking to expand its technology beyond broadcasting matches.

When Chivas, the Mexican soccer team of Guadalajara, launched the ChivasTV platform to broadcast its matches online, few believed it would be a viable thing. In addition to separating from Televisa, the most powerful TV network in Mexico, Chivas began to tear down the “if it does not appear on television, it does not exist” myth.

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Amaury Vergara Zatarain, director of the Chivas de Guadalajara soccer club.

Nearly a year after its launch, ChivasTV could revolutionize sports marketing in Mexico, with statistics, data, and trends that can be put to good use by brands as well as other football clubs. Portada spoke with its director, Amaury Vergara Zatarain, the only son of Jorge Vergara Madrigal, president of Grupo Omnilife, and owner of Chivas and ChivasTV.

“Chivas TV, in addition to expanding the exposure of the Chivas brand, is a tool that has revolutionized the company’s marketing department to the degree that we’ve created a completely new area focused on digital innovation,” said Vergara Zatarain.

In addition to expanding the exposure of the Chivas brand, is a tool that has revolutionized the company’s marketing department.

The goal of this area will be to develop technology products for both Chivas and other soccer clubs, such as metadata analysis and trade statistics. The information will come from the box offices of clubs that link up with the company’s Department of Digital Innovation to generate their own technology products or process their own information.

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Through “a philosophy of sharing and exchanging,” ChivasTV would process other clubs’ information in exchange for being able to use it to create analyses and market studies, which in turn would be tapped by interested companies, said Vergara Zatarain.

ChivasTV, One Year Later

“With the old TV network we were on, we did not have the global exposure we have now, with a presence in 55 countries,” said Vergara Zatarain. In his opinion, the former network was wasting the relationship that exists between the Chivas brand and Mexicaness.

However, when Chivas left open television, advertisers did not seem desperate to continue supporting the team. After its exit from open television, the club lost sponsorships from brands like Adidas and Bimbo.

With the old TV network we were on, we did not have global exposure.

The club is currently supported by Tecate, Puma, and Caliente. “These brands are all on board because they are very clear about the direction in which the industry, the marketing, and the content are moving,” said Vergara Zatarain.

For example, said the director, a graduate of the New York Film Academy whose resume includes working on the Guillermo del Toro film Pan’s Labyrinth: “How many times people see repetitions on social media is often more relevant than one-time views on television. We are trying to work with the brands that already understand this, and eventually, hope to have more come on board. ”

To do this, the goal will be to maintain a neutral position in the broadcasts ─ without favoring Chivas ─, plus have guests from other clubs, and generate a “healthy rivalry” among the other teams.

In this way, Chivas is seeking to “create a narrative that is more neutral, instead of black and white; lifting the rival to then have a worthy opponent. We are looking to get the fans to not only love the team, but to love the sport.”

We are looking to get the fans to not only love the team, but to love the sport.

One of the strongest criticisms the ChivasTV platform has received is its technical problems, such as losing the signal during broadcasts. In response, the company will be launching a new 2.0 platform in the coming months, so that even if the user has a bad Internet connection, the signal will not be interrupted, explained Vergara Zatarain.

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ChivasTV has a presence in 55 countries, but the United States is not one of them because Chivas signed an exclusive agreement with Univision that prevents it from broadcasting on its own platform in the U.S. However, this contract expires in 2019, so this could change in the not too distant future.

 

What the Experts Say about ChivasTV

Hugo Sanchez Gudiño, sports analysis expert for UNAM:

  • It’s a reflection of its owner, Jorge Vergara. He’s a risky entrepreneur who is always on the lookout for new things.
  • Brands that do not undertake new challenges stay stuck with a small audience and stagnate. The brands that survive in this globalized world are those that propose new initiatives, especially in technical terms. This brand was vegetating for a long time, with internal conflicts and its own fan base, but seems to have woken up.
  • It is a hit because the public is no longer passive and wants the brand to interact with it.

Carlos Elizondo Ramírez, independent consultant, sports marketing specialist:

  • Those most affected are the fans that don’t have a good Internet connection.
  • For many brands, it is still not an attractive option, as several have dropped them. Those brands prefer electronic and open media, such as television.
  • I am sure that this move is not about turning a profit soon─ it is about building something, which is perhaps the future of soccer. Other clubs couldn’t pull this off, but Chivas, with its vast resources, can do that and more.

By Gabriela Gutiérrez M.

What: José Luis Higuera, CEO of Club Guadalajara, announced that his team would not return to television, neither open nor cable.
Why it matters: In 2016, the Chivas de Guadalajara club did away with broadcasting their matches on television to focus exclusively on their own streaming platform and a few alliances with Claro and Cinépolis.

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Jose Luis Higuera, CEO of Club Guadalajara.

“There is no way Chivas will return to television,” said Jose Luis Higuera, CEO of Club Guadalajara, during his presentation at the 2017 Sports Innovation Summit (SiS) in Mexico City.

After a briefing in which the club’s general manager complained about the low amounts that brands pay to Mexican teams compared to European clubs, he explained that although the Chivas TV online platform still had flaws, the team would not be broadcasting their games again on Mexican TV.

Instead of returning to the traditional model of selling broadcast rights to the big TV networks, Higuera talked about creating alliances with new outputs such as the big movie theaters. Late last year, Cinépolis entered into an alliance with Chivas TV to include its matches on the OTT platform owned by the Mexican film company, Cinépolis Click.

In addition, Higuera sees good opportunities in broadcasting his team’s live matches on the big screen. “It’s already been done with Champions League and also the NFL,” said the club owner, whose soccer team is 100% composed of Mexican players.

Since its departure from open television, the Chivas club has received criticism for charging its fans for viewing the games on a platform that not everyone has access to and is also plagued with many flaws. However, Higuera is convinced that the only way to improve the team is through a greater injection of capital. This is just one more effort to bring revenue to the club.

Although he was not very clear about the launch dates for Chivas’s new alliances, he emphasized that the team would not be returning to the small screen under any circumstances.

Contrary to Higuera’s strategy in the Mexican market, Juan Carlos Rodríguez, President of Univision Deportes, also stated during the SiS that Chivas signed on for another year with the television station to extend its sale of TV rights to the U.S. market until 2018.