America Movil Sidesteps Televisa, Azteca to Air Olympics

America Movil SAB (AMXL) said it reached an agreement to broadcast the 2014 Winter Olympic Games through 26 of Mexico’s regional television networks, sidestepping the two major national broadcasters.

The company, Latin America’s largest mobile-phone carrier, will also air the games on its Claro Sports cable-TV channel and on its UnoTV website, it said today in a statement. Mexico City-based America Movil, controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, holds exclusive rights for coverage of the Sochi, Russia, Olympics across all platforms in Latin America, excluding Brazil.

The agreement proves America Movil can reach a national audience without working with Grupo Televisa SAB (TLEVICPO) and TV Azteca SAB, which dominate Mexico’s broadcast-TV ratings. Slim, whose companies haven’t advertised through the two broadcasters since 2011, has sought to circumvent them as their media businesses come into direct competition with his telecommunications empire.

“These will be the Olympic Games with the most coverage in the history of Mexico,” Arturo Elias, Slim’s spokesman and the director of UnoTV, said today in a news conference in Mexico City.

While Televisa and TV Azteca haven’t asked for permission to broadcast the games, America Movil remains open to programming deals with both broadcasters and other parties, he said. America Movil also holds the Latin American rights to broadcast the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

A press representative at Televisa declined to comment. TV Azteca’s press office didn’t reply to requests for comment.

“The broadcast of these Games will be in reach of all citizens,” America Movil said. The local broadcasters range from Mexico City’s Canal 22 to the Baja California Sur State Institute of Radio and Television’s Canal 8.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patricia Laya in Mexico City at playa2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net

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