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Facebook and Fox Sports build on Copa Libertadores partnership in South America

Social media giant Facebook and pay-television broadcaster Fox Sports have agreed to continue sharing coverage of the Copa Libertadores for Spanish-speaking countries across South America.

The agreement first kicked in for the group stages of this year’s edition of South American club soccer’s premier competition and runs through to the quarter-finals.

The deal for this season will see more live games on Tuesdays and Wednesdays shown on the Facebook Watch streaming platform, while Fox Sports will have coverage of Thursday fixtures which would otherwise be exclusive to Facebook.

Games on Facebook Watch will be streamed via the CONMEBOL Libertadores and Fox Sports Facebook pages.

“The last season of the Liberators has shown us how sports fans have been involved through new social forms with the championship, with millions of people gathering to follow the games on Watch,” said Leonardo Lenz, Facebook’s Director of Sports Associations for Latin America.

“We are excited to renew this partnership with Fox Sports and bring even more opportunities for fans to connect with the tournament on Facebook.”

Both Facebook and Fox Sports hold rights to the Copa Libertadores until 2022 under separate four-year deals agreed with continental governing body CONMEBOL. The pair originally entered a content-sharing partnership for the competition last year to increase the number of games shown on their platforms.

“At CONMEBOL we are committed to the promotion and exhibition of South American football inside and outside our borders, so we are especially happy to renew agreements like this with Facebook Watch and Fox Sports that bring the great celebration of the Libertadores to fans of everyone through new digital platforms.” said Juan Emilio Roa, CONMEBOL’s Commercial and Marketing Director.

The countries covered in the deal are Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, but not Brazil, where both Fox Sports and Facebook show games alongside Rede Globo and SporTV.

On 13th March it had been revealed that the Copa Libertadores has been temporarily suspended due to Coronavirus fears, beginning with those scheduled on 15th March. It is unknown when the competition is set to continue with the health and safety of everyone involved at the forefront.

Liam Watson is the Managing Editor at Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy, industry matters and technology.

Acun Medya Group secures Hull City takeover

EFL Championship side Hull City AFC has been purchased by Turkish production company Acun Medya Group, headed by Acun Ilicali.

EFL Championship side Hull City AFC has been purchased by Turkish production company Acun Medya Group, for a fee in the reported region of $37 million AUD.

Acun Ilicali, a 52-year-old businessman and owner of Acun Medya Group, was introduced to fans at the MKM Stadium prior to the club’s 2-0 win at home over Blackburn Rovers.

The takeover brings the controversial ownership of the Allam family to an end, much to the delight of fans after a roller coaster 11 years in charge.

Despite overseeing two promotions to the Premier League, an FA Cup Final and Hull’s first-ever foray into a European competition through the UEFA Europa League in 2014, the Allam family became increasingly unpopular with the fans.

The unpopularity of the Allam family is due to many different reasons, however it all started when the family proposed a name change to ‘Hull Tigers’ back in 2013. The move was ultimately blocked by authorities a year later, which frustrated the Allams and they then put the club up for sale, straining the relationship with fans and seeing a decline in attendances at home fixtures.

The new ownership will look to win back supporters and turn the negative tide.

Acun Medya Group Owner, Acun Ilicali:

“I am happy that I have fulfilled one of my biggest dreams. We are starting a beautiful journey with Hull City. We have many big dreams and goals to achieve together with our fans,” he said.

Outgoing Vice-Chairman Ehab Allam:

“During our tenure, we have worked hard to create a sustainable model and successful academy set-up, giving the club the foundations it needs for the future,” he said.

“There have been lots of ups and downs over the last 11 years or so, but we will take some very fond memories with us… We have taken a very business-led approach to running the club and I truly hope Acun can rebuild the relationship with the fanbase and also bring back the success on the pitch that fans crave and deserve.”

Hertha Berlin pushing hard for stadium upgrade

Top-flight German football club Hertha Berlin has reiterated its intention to develop a new stadium nearby to the Olympiastadion.

Top-flight German football club Hertha Berlin has reiterated its intention to develop a new stadium nearby to its current home, the Olympiastadion, releasing fresh renderings of its vision for such a project.

The club has been attempting to progress plans to develop a new home for several years and in February 2020 stated that the OlympiaPark would be the preferred location.

In November 2018, Hertha confirmed it was targeting an opening date in July 2025 for a new-look Olympiastadion, with preference to be building a completely new stadium rather than renovating the current one.

The current Olympiastadion has been home to Hertha Berlin for almost 60 years, and has a capacity of around 74,000. However, the club is seeking a more intimate stadium for its fans, as well as the inclusion of an athletics track.

Hertha’s former stadium commissioner, Klaus Teichert, withdrew an application for a decision to be made on the location for a new stadium, with Brandenburg also put forward as a potential location.

Hertha Berlin Chief Financial Officer, Ingo Schiller:

“We have entered into talks with the new government and are working hard to set the course for our new stadium in 2022,” he said.

“The stadium is the club’s most important project, especially in terms of the economic situation.”

There is a lot of political support necessary for the project to get approved, as the potential worksite currently includes residential apartments, a big reason for negotiations coming to a stall at times.

A resident spoke to local radio station rbb24:

“You talk about ir, but not with us. We are still not prepared to sell our apartments in Sportforumstraße or to negotiate about them,” they said.

“It is very unfortunate that our residents in Sportforumstraße are once again unsettled by this uncoordinated approach.”

Hertha Berlin and backers of the new stadium have been in negotiation with Berlin’s sports senator, Iris Spranger, with talks to continue over the next month.

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