Photo: Matt About Money

Next month, people from all over the planet will enjoy the FIFA World Cup 2018. I, like most Venezuelans, will be one of them because, dude, this event is the sort of temporary reprieve from the daily outrage that we all deserve. But how will we even watch it? Venezuela is broke, how can a local channel cough up the dough to pay for broadcasting rights that aren’t cheap and paid in greens?

Well, turns out Venezuelans will enjoy the World Cup in all its glory, all thanks to Empresas Polar. See, Polar doesn’t own any radio or TV stations, but if that makes you doubt the news, everything will be cleared up by looking at the official list of broadcaster licences.

Polar is legit. Let me break it down for you:

Polar told marketing magazine Producto that it has offered the rights to other local channels for free, and that isn’t quite true.

FIFA first sold Latin American rights (except Brazil and the Caribbean) to Mountrigi Management Group Ltd., a subsidiary of Mexican media giant Televisa (the whole story about Mountrigi is actually more twisted than you can imagine), and Mountrigi sold the rights to each individual country. In the case of Venezuela, they sold them to Empresas Polar, which later gave them to three local private broadcasters: Venevisión, Meridiano TV and radio network Unión Radio.

For the record, Mountrigi also sold Latin American pay-TV rights to DirecTV, which is making a huge splash for the event, including regional exclusivity for 32 out of the 64 matches of the tournament.

Now, Polar told marketing magazine Producto that it has offered the rights to other local channels for free, and that isn’t quite true. Polar will be the main sponsor of the event and some of their products, those that don’t compete with World Cup official sponsors, will have a noticeable presence.

The company got those broadcasting rights three years ago, along with two other FIFA events held last year: the Confederations Cup and the U-20 World Cup (where la Vinotinto ended as the surprise runner-up).

In better times, the government would have exploited this opportunity, but now the pinch is being felt big time and there were other priorities at hand.

But what about the hegemony?

Polar offered the rights to TVes (and they agreed). In better times, the government would have exploited this opportunity, but now the pinch is being felt big time and there were other priorities at hand.

The announcement, anyhow, has provoked polarizing opinions on social media: Some pro-government voices accused Polar of embezzling money (because of control de cambio), while others defended the investment as a way to give us all a breather.

Polar’s plans can be seen either as a cynical PR stunt, or a truly noble gesture. Personally, I see this gamble as a “win-win” situation for everyone involved (including El Chiguire Bipolar), so why get worked up about it?

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.

36 COMMENTS

  1. Polar has operations outside of Venezuela. It is possible that the funds used did not come from Venezuela and therefore have nothing to do with any type of money smuggling or money laundering.
    On the surface it just appears to be a goodwill gesture. This may also increase positive sentiment towards Lorenzo Mendosa. Making it riskier for the regime to make any moves against him personally or against Empress Polar.
    Mendoza’s popularity, I am certain, has not gone unnoticed by the regime. If he were to become politically active he would have great influence leading opposition to the regime. He is one of the most popular people in Venezuela.
    Mendoza’s ability to avoid the regime’s asset seizures has created speculation. He is performing a tightrope act and so far has done well.
    Empress Polar doesn’t stand to gain anything else from the advertising. When there is nothing to buy, or any money to buy anything with, advertisers don’t benefit from advertising.

    • “When there is nothing to buy, or any money to buy anything with, advertisers don’t benefit from advertising”

      Advertising is about keeping your product in your target’s minds. Advertisers benefit from advertising. Every. Single. Time.

      A well written opinion with a lame final paragraph.

  2. “…Polar told marketing magazine Producto…”

    It’s incredible that that disgusting piece of toilet paper is still thriving in Venezuela, puking out all sorts of lies, that magazine is the one where that infamous “poor people eat dog food in the 4th” article appeared for the first time.

  3. It all pales when one considers that the World Cup’s host and main sponsor this year is the most notorious and corrupting influence on sports on the planet, an authoritarian and occupying power, is actively working to undermine democratic governments and institutions worldwide, engages in assasination of political opponents and journalists at home and abroad, and is a principal supporter of the Maduro regime and its repression of the people of Venezuela.

    But it’s football, it’s the World Cup, so what can you do?

    • I see that Russia is pissed that the Brits have the reputation for the unruliest fans at matches, and they intend to do something about it. Maybe the Russkies can excel at something after all, if they try hard enough.

      • No, the Russians have the unruliest fans. They call themselves Ultras. Racist, violent, broken-toothed, tat-covered drunken assholes.

        All of the problems with drunken Brits singing, “Ten German Bombers” and such seems like an episode of Mary Tyler Moore Show compared to those thugs

    • “the most notorious and corrupting influence on sports on the planet”

      But, enough about the Washington Capitals.

      • Preseason 500:1 odds… I think that if the GK’s win, a lot of small casinos are going to go Tango Uniform and a lot of bigger ones are going to see some unforeseen quarterly outlays.

        Ovechkin will have his say.

      • Vegas and DC or Sodom and Gomorrah

        God’s one explanation aptly covers all four: The sin of Sodom was that “She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me.”
        I’d say only reason Wild aren’t there is because Minneapolis and St. Paul are too pure, but that would be an obvious Maduro-ism.

      • You all can have all the cheesy pre show antics you want, the Caps are there to play hockey. And win. Go Caps!

  4. In other news,
    Falcon is complaining loudly that the results of the presidential election are illegitimate.
    It still hasn’t dawned on the slime ball that the election was illegitimate.

    • He participated in an election the whole World new was illegitimate, and he lost because the results of the illegitimate election were illegitimate. Sounds like presidential material to me.

  5. “Polar’s plans can be seen either as a cynical PR stunt, or a truly noble gesture.” Ever hear the old saying: “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth?” I think it applies here.

    P.S. I wonder how many millenials understand the meaning and background of that saying?

    • I understand the meaning, background, all that. No need to be a millenial to not know that, though; is not like my whole experience with ridding animals cant be summarized as “1 day in El Junquito”, and I guess most of us are.

      But in any case… I dont think it applies to this kind of think. Of course, look at the gift horse mouth. Look at who is giving the gift. Think about what they want to tell you with it.

      Same as looking at the “gift horse mouth” when somebody gives you a bonus for voting.

    • “A caballo regalado no le mires el diente ” which loosely translates as ” If you receive a horse as a gift, don’t look at its teeth “

  6. How about instead Noble or Lame you included the word SMART.

    Polar took a look, plunked down the money, guaranteeing their products will be prominently featured in the advertising (if not holding an outright monopoly on it), scoring a public relations goal AND making the government look weak to boot.

    That’s smart, not noble, not lame.

    (Well, somewhat noble at least. I gotta confess the first thing pooped in my mind when I read the news was that at least the shithole Venezuela has become will have that to distract it, if only for a little bit).

      • Considering what a shithole Venezuela has become and Muduros constant shitting on the people of Venezuela …. maybe you where right the 1st time as they are “pooping” on the minds of every one 🙂

  7. Mind not using the word lame? Not only is it not politically correct, but your usage is plainly offensive to people with disabilities.

  8. Guapo – My understanding is that the smaller sports books all pool the bets and that the odds lines will always follow the 50/50 rule so the house rarely looses. And even the bigger books will sell off wagers to another to get back to 50/50.

    • Don’t forget the VIG
      10% on a standard bet with points.
      If you win a $100 bet, you get $100
      If you lose, you pay$110

  9. Polar took the decision years ago to move a big chunk of their businesses outside Venezuela so that if the govt took over its Venezuelan installations it would be able to survive and even thrive , at the same time theyve tried holding on to their venezuelan assets despite the attempts by the govt to hostilize their activities in the country , its very existence is evidence , that private businesses can do a much better job of producing things that any govt sponsored industry …..in this time of crisis , the govt is no longer so keen on taking over succesful private business and Polar is making its image in the country much stronger with ploys like the buying of the tv transmission rights to the world cup ……. Its a good move and one which will make any govt attempt to take over its businesses much costlier in terms of its impact on the regimes already much dwindled political capital…..!!

  10. It’s a great move by Polar. It’s them making a stand and holding out for Venezuela despite the extreme operating difficulty. It’s shielding themselves against the regimen by providing the joy of watching the World Cup for all Venezuelans. It’s Polar being there for you when Venezuela was living the worst crisis that it’s ever suffered in it’s existence. It’s further cementing their branding into the minds of every Venezuelan out there.

    This is some Coca-Cola level marketing right here. It’s why Coca-Cola would use portable portable plants to service every U.S serviceperson, no matter what part of the globe they were during WW2. It’s a staple for nationalism.

    I applaud Empresa Polar for this.

    Family operated companies, like Polar, operate thinking decades and even a century in advance. When el Chavismo falls, Polar will still be there and outlive several governments and several republics.

    The only ones that would hate on this will cease to exist in a couple of years and that’s the real reason they are criticizing this move.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here