In a major development for the soccer media industry, ESPN Gets LaLiga TV Rights In U.S. via sublicensed games.
ESPN made a significant move today by announcing that GolTV sublicensed some of its U.S. TV rights of LaLiga coverage to ESPN.
In March of this year, GolTV announced that it had renewed its rights to LaLiga TV coverage in the United States for another three seasons. Now, GolTV has sub-licensed a portion of its LaLiga TV coverage to ESPN in a move that compensates for ESPN losing its Champions League TV coverage for the next three years to Fox Soccer Channel.
ESPN gets LaLiga TV rights in U.S.
What this means is that beginning next season, ESPN Deportes has the option to air up to 114 matches (although at this time is plans to show 95 regular-season games), while ESPN2 will present approximately 20 in windows that ESPN Deportes general manager Lino Garcia said “won’t conflict with the network’s schedule.”
Further, ESPN Radio will air select games, while Deportes’, mobile and online holdings will be able to air extensive footage.
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GolTV and ESPN will alternate selections on week-to-week basis, choosing from six matches. “We will share the games with the top teams with our partner,” said Garcia.
As ESPN gets LaLiga TV rights in the U.S., ESPN Deportes benefits greatly. The same applies to the profile and live lineup of broadband service, ESPN360.com, which will simulcast the matches that air linearly on its Spanish-language sister service and ESPN2.
The deal between GolTV and ESPN is a smart one for both parties. After recent cuts, GolTV will assuredly welcome ESPN’s money to sublicense their U.S. TV rights to LaLiga. Plus, GolTV may gain a lot more visibility in the marketplace by ESPN and GolTV working together in marketing campaigns. For ESPN, this helps fill a massive void left by the Champions League coverage it has lost.
Timing is impeccable. The moves of Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka to the Santiago Bernabeu boost the relative interest. Viewership of LaLiga will skyrocket this season.
READ MORE: LaLiga TV schedule and streaming links.
The move is made even more interesting given that today is the deadline the Premier League has set in the United Kingdom for bids for Setanta’s 46 2009-2010 games. It’s quite possible ESPN may be making a move to try to acquire the packages that Setanta lost in the U.K. at the same time it has sewn up LaLiga coverage in the United States.
Meanwhile, the next big U.S. TV rights deal is that of the Premier League. Expect that announcement this Fall. ESPN may be interested in trying to acquire those too to accentuate its coverage of soccer.
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