Truce in TV war

A temporary truce was reached October 9th in the media wars between Sogecable’s AVS and Mediapro over the right to broadcast Spanish league games both in Spain and abroad, following a ruling in a Madrid court. The court ruling prohibits Mediapro from any exploitation of the football broadcasting rights owned by AVS during the 2007/08 season. It further awarded costs against Mediapro, but required AVS to put up a bank guarantee of 50 million euros within 20 days in the event that any subsequent court rulings find for damages in favour of Mediapro.

What does this mean from a viewer’s perspective? The judge ruled that the contract signed between Sogecable and Mediapro on 24 July 2006 must be adhered to, whereby Mediapro retains the right to broadcast one (general interest) free-to-air game per league matchday in Spain, has exclusive international broadcasting rights, the rights for the second division games, as well as the re-caps of all the games. Mediapro will remain as the production company for all games shown on pay-per-view (even though AVS will retain the broadcasting rights).

If both parties agree to the ruling (and Mediapro have already said this was what they had been asking for), it means we will be back to the status quo prior to the dispute, which should at least ensure that there is no disruption to the international feed. This could have been extremely damaging to the brand value of the clubs, especially the big ones like Real Madrid and Barcelona. The League has now called a meeting with both parties on Thursday to discuss the scheduling of games for the remainder of this season.

However, it is not all over by any means. There is still an outstanding legal dispute between both parties which will need to be resolved. Mediapro owns the broadcasting rights to 10 of the 20 first division clubs. From next season, this will increase to 12, with the addition of Real Madrid and Barcelona, with a further five joining in 2009. This will leave Sogecable (whose majority owner is the Grupo PRISA, also owner of El País and As newspapers) with a rapidly diminishing ability to exploit football via pay-per-view. The only first division clubs which
have not signed a deal with Mediapro are Atlético, Betis and Getafe.

**Blog post courtesy of Gonzalo. Post originally dated October 10, 2007. Check out his fantastic blog for all things Real Madrid~*