The South American Soccer Confederation (Conmebol) is striving to improve the quality of Copa Libertadores match broadcasts by centralizing control of television production.
In a press conference at Conmebol's headquarters in Luque, Paraguay (part of Greater Asuncion), the director of club competitions, Federico Nantes, said that in January the confederation began exercising control over television production and signal distribution for all matches of Copa Libertadores, South America's premier club soccer competition.
The main goal is to the improve the quality of the broadcasts by "standardizing" TV production.
This change will eliminate potentially "biased images," a reference to a practice whereby local producers, for example, did not always show replays of certain moments that went against the home team.
To homogenize image production and ensure the transmission of the "same signal to all rights holders," Conmebol installed a hub in San Isidro, Argentina, that is managed by Spanish company Mediapro (under a four-year deal) and tasked with making corrections to the images and even the computer graphics it receives.
The confederation also has awarded local production rights for all games played in one country to a single company, which must produce the content in keeping with Conmebol's guidelines.
Among other things, those guidelines set a floor on the number of cameras to be used in each match: nine for games up through and including the tournament's round of 16 and 17 (including cameras inside the goals and at each corner of the field) for the remaining contests.
Until 2018, the company that held the broadcast rights also was in charge of production for all of the matches, Nantes said.
For his part, Conmebol's club commercial director, Juan Emilio Roa, said there are now more holders of broadcast rights for Copa Libertadores matches, adding that the idea is to reinvest this additional revenue in the sport.
Among those new broadcasters is Facebook, which was awarded exclusive rights to stream Thursday night Copa Libertadores matches.
As part of its 2019-2022 deal, the Menlo Park, California-based social media giant also has shared rights to stream one of the games played on Tuesdays.
The first Copa Libertadores match streamed by Facebook was a Feb. 7 second-stage contest between Colombian club Atletico Nacional and Venezuelan side Deportivo La Guaira.
Roa said the results were "very positive," noting that the stream was viewed by more than 900,000 people.