Mexico bars America Movil, Televisa from exclusive World Cup rights

MEXICO CITY Fri May 30, 2014 6:40pm EDT

MEXICO CITY May 30 (Reuters) - Mexico's telecommunications regulator on Friday barred America Movil and Televisa from buying exclusive rights to broadcast the final stages of the World Cup soccer tournament and Olympics ceremonies at home as it seeks to curb the companies' market dominance.

America Movil, controlled by tycoon Carlos Slim, has long dominated Mexico's fixed-line and mobile markets, while Grupo Televisa is by far the country's biggest broadcaster.

America Movil has already secured exclusive rights to broadcast the 2016 Olympic Games across Latin America with the exception of Brazil, while Televisa has the rights to broadcast two dozen soccer matches from the upcoming World Cup in Brazil, according to the website of its subsidiary Sky Mexico.

Earlier this year, the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) declared both companies as dominant in their respective markets and imposed tougher regulations.

When asked whether the rules could apply retroactively to existing contracts, IFT Commissioner Maria Elena Estavillo said the regulator would look at each case separately.

"Dominant companies have to present the IFT with the contracts that they have already signed for this content within 10 business days and we will study the exact situation of each one," Estavillo said via email.

The regulator also barred dominant companies from exclusive broadcast rights of the national soccer team's matches and the key final games of the Mexican soccer league's top division.

The new rules form part of push to boost competition in the telecoms and broadcast markets amid a wider government overhaul of the economy. But detailed legislation that will underpin the telecoms regulation, is pending final approval in Congress. (Reporting by Christine Murray; Editing by Simon Gardner and G Crosse)