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Bidding for La Liga US TV rights to begin shortly for 2015-18 deal

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Discussions will begin to take place this week to determine who will be the next rights holder in the United States for La Liga, Spain’s top flight soccer league.

The current US TV rights deal for La Liga expires at the end of the 2014/15 season in late May. Representatives from La Liga amd Mediapro were in Miami last week to begin preliminary talks.

The current rights holder, beIN SPORTS, who acquired the US TV rights to La Liga in 2012 after bidding more than incumbent GolTV and other media companies, is expected to face tougher competition from other sports networks particularly as el Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid continues to be a ratings juggernaut.

Distribution is one of the factors that’s important to La Liga as representatives look ahead to the next rights deal. beIN SPORTS is currently in 16.9 million households compared to 94 million for ESPN, 84 million for FOX Sports 1, 81 million for NBCSN and 21 million for FOX Deportes.

According to a World Soccer Talk source, Univision Deportes Network has thrown its hat in the ring to try to acquire rights to La Liga.

There’s no indication yet which other media companies are involved in the bidding. However, one network that has ruled itself out of bidding is ESPN Deportes.

“As of right now, we’re not taking an active role in going after [La Liga],” said ESPN Deportes General Manager Lino Garcia. “Anything could change. It’s certainly a very, very attractive property. It sold for 3-4 times what it did previously, so it has to be a very important strategic move to go after a property that’s priced that way.”

la-liga-booth-miami

La Liga’s booth at the Sportel America industry conference in Miami last week

The timing of the talks with La Liga couldn’t have come at a better time after an estimated 400 million people watched Barcelona against Real Madrid worldwide in the 2015 edition of el Clasico. As of press time, viewing figures were not available for the game on beIN SPORTS.

 

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66 Comments

66 Comments

  1. Ensar

    April 25, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    Who Knows? Maybe beIN will get MLS in 2022

  2. Ensar

    April 25, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Well, on this website it said that it was renewed through 2018, not 2020. ESPN said they want it because they are out of soccer rights, all they have are MLS,USMNT games and the Euro. If they win, ESPN would have English and Univsion would have spanish. If Fox wasn’t interested, they wouldn’t even have Bundesliga. ESPN and Univision also want Serie a for 2018-2021

  3. Ensar

    April 24, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    next year beIN’s contract expires, I’m pretty sure ESPN,Univsion will get it (Same with Serie A)

    • Oliver Tse

      April 24, 2017 at 6:52 pm

      Not true.

      beIN renewed U.S. rights to La Liga for 5 seasons instead of 3 seasons. The deal runs through May 2020.

      La Liga’s value in the U.S. market is primarily with Spanish-speaking viewers.

      One would expect La Liga to invite Univision and possibly Telemundo (Comcast/NBCUniversal) to bid against beIN or whichever company were to buy out beIN’s U.S. operation for the next cycle, which will start with the 2020-2021 season.

      (FOX and ESPN are NOT interested in bidding for U.S. rights for La Liga at inflated prices. )

      beIN has lost over $1 billion around the world since 2012. Shiekh Al-Thani can’t keep letting Nasser and Youssef write cheques forever.

  4. Panchas

    July 3, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    NBC, ESPN, Fox has the best sports, football is the most watched is very difficult to compete against them.

  5. Obinna

    July 3, 2015 at 12:28 am

    BeIN is terrible at scheduling. They have 3 leagues plus cups on ONE CHANNEL. Everything gets pushes online. When do Serie A and Ligue 1 contracts expire? Look at PL on NBC. They’re doing so well because they have to put all their effort into only one league. ESPN should get it because they don’t have any European Soccer. They already have the ESPN FC cast.

  6. Juan Vasquez

    April 8, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    BeIn Sports will keep the rights… NBC, ESPN, Fox are saturated with other sports. Too many games too few channels.

  7. 3 horses

    March 25, 2015 at 9:39 am

    Projected “winning bids” for US rights in the next cycle:

    EPL: $100-110 million/yr (up from $83.3 million/year)

    La Liga: around $50 million/yr

    Liga MX is still king of int’l club soccer media rights in the U.S. Univision pays Chivas Guadalajara over $90 million/yr by itself. U.S. rights to Club America are probably worth at least $75 million/yr by itself if the rights were to be sold individually. The U.S. rights to other 16 Liga MX teams are worth about $8-10 million/yr each.

  8. Jose

    March 24, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    Why isn’t Sean McManus competing for more of these fast-growing sports properties on behalf of CBS Sports Network? His reluctancy is causing CBS to miss out on such golden opportunities to grow the network and make the market even more competitive than it already is.

    • 3 horses

      March 25, 2015 at 9:06 am

      CBS couldn’t come up with enough money to keep the rights to March Madness (NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship) without having to partner with Turner Sports (Time Warner).

      Furthermore, CBS Sports Network is in less than 50 million households.

      One would be surprised if CBS were to get involved with int’l club soccer, which is a niche product (albeit with young demographics) that fits better with other sports TV outfits than CBS.

      • Jose

        April 18, 2015 at 3:36 pm

        But beIN is available in only less than 17 MILLION households & more expensive.

      • Obinna

        July 3, 2015 at 12:43 am

        CBS doesn’t have a set platform to go into a full league soccer coverage. When the Premier League came to NBC, they had already had everything in place. They had experience from MLS and the Olympics. CBS covers NO soccer AT ALL! All they have are a few writers for cbssports.com.

  9. Daniel

    March 24, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    Whoever wins the rights,will they show every la liga match?seeing as how there is virtually no overlap of matches i would hope this would be the case.does this also cover the copa del rey?and when did la liga make a collective league rights package like the epl?

    • 3 horses

      March 25, 2015 at 9:15 am

      beIN Sports en Espanol (in Spanish only) airs every La Liga match unless two (or more) La Liga matches were to kick off simultaneously. The overflow matches are relegated to beinsportsconnect.tv

      beIN Sports (USA) in English (with Spanish SAP) only airs Real Madrid, Barcelona, and whichever team is in contention (i.e. Atletico de Madrid last season and this season.)

      • Christopher Harris

        March 25, 2015 at 9:45 am

        beIN SPORTS in English and Spanish air far more games than just Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid games.

        On an average weekend, beIN SPORTS broadcasts 9 La Liga matches live across beIN SPORTS and beIN SPORTS en Espańol. Only 3 of those involve Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atleti games.

        • Ensar

          May 9, 2017 at 3:54 pm

          Would beIN sublisence spanish to Univision?

  10. David

    March 24, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    I hope it stays with BeIN Sports. Fox will have the Bundesliga next season. If they also had La Liga, I imagine these games would be aired on the paid Fox Soccer Plus channel. Some would get on Fox Sports 1 & 2. When college football starts, that will take priority over soccer. NBC has the Premier League so they would need overflow channels.

  11. 3 horses

    March 24, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    I understand La Liga did not have a formal bidding process for US media rights (a la EPL) in past cycles.

    Instead, MediaPro approached bidders informally to guage their interest before negotiating with the company that MediaPro thinks will pay the most money for US media rights to La Liga.

    The fact that La Liga (and/or MediaPro) was in the Miami area last week tells me that MediaPro has talked to beIN Sports (USA), Univision, and Telemundo (NBCU).

  12. 3 horses

    March 24, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    The bidding for US media rights to La Liga comes down to the following 3 horses:

    1. beIN Sports (USA, LLC). The incumbent must bid big or else the two networks will have almost nothing of value (during club futbol season) in the next cycle.

    2. Univision. Needs complementary content for Univision Deportes Network (UDN). Univision wants to push UDN to over 90 million households at over $1/month. Highly unlikely to overbid because Univision already has too much Mexican futbol (12 out of 18 teams in Liga MX) and is already paying over $200 million/year (including over $90 million/year to Chivas Guadalajara.)

    3. NBCUniversal. La Liga would be a good fit for NBC Universo (formerly mun2, which is in many English-language basic packages due to its hybrid Spanish/English format) and Telemundo. Problem: NBCU also needs to bid for US rights to EPL. Does NBCU want to spend that much money on int’l club soccer? I have my doubts. EPL is a better fit than La Liga for NBCU, in my opinion.

    FOX is not likely to bid. FOX Deportes has enough unique futbol content, with rights to Copa Libertadores (which feature Mexican teams) through 2021, and the Bundesliga starting August 2015 (I am guessing Bayern Munich matches will be headed mostly for FOX Sports 2.)

    ESPN was never expected to bid. ESPN Deportes already has too much Mexican futbol (non-exclusive simucast sublicense from Azteca America for 4 teams in Liga MX, plus lots of filler matches from Copa MX.)

    • 3 horses

      March 24, 2015 at 1:54 pm

      FOX also have the US rights to UEFA Champions League through 2018. That guarantees both Barcelona and Real Madrid will be on FOX Deportes (and ESPN Deportes via sublicense.)

      That alone should convince you that FOX will probably not bid for US rights to La Liga.

    • Tom Harris

      March 24, 2015 at 3:52 pm

      your logic that XYZ channel is unlikely to bid for the rights to a certain soccer league because they already have some soccer content elsewhere doesn’t make much sense to me.
      If, say, CBS already has the rights to Thursday Night Football (NFL), would they turn down/not be interested in Monday Night Football if they can get those rights at a price where they would generate a high return on investment? I understand there is something to be said about diversification, but in the end if according to the analysis of FOX, NBC, etc, the price of La Liga presents a greater return on investment than the next available programming alternative, that fact that they already have soccer content should not in any way deter them from bidding. That’s business 101.

      • 3 horses

        March 25, 2015 at 9:12 am

        Don’t forget that FOX (partnered with ESPN) chose to walk away from US rights to EPL last cycle.

        FOX already has the UEFA Champions League and the English FA Cup through 2018.

        Than means:

        FOX Sports 1, 2, and Deportes have guaranteed access to matches involving Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid, and Barcelona.

        FOX doesn’t need to spend another $50 million/year to get La Liga.

        Heck, FOX Deportes wouldn’t even spend money on Liga MX anymore, preferring to walk away from its non-exclusive Azteca America sublicense agreement (and let ESPN Deportes take over.)

        Also note that FOX passed on U.S. rights to Dutch Eredivisie even though FOX owns 50.1% of Eredivisie marketing (which gave FOX 1st dibs on int’l rights to Eredivisie around the world.) Indeed, FOX-owned TV outfits around the world (Asia, Brazil, UK, Germany, Italy) carry the Eredivisie, with the notable exception of the U.S.

        • Christopher Harris

          March 25, 2015 at 9:47 am

          FOX didn’t walk away from US rights in the last EPL rights bidding. They, partnering with ESPN, put in a lower bid than NBC.

  13. Tom Harris

    March 24, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    It would be extremely penny wise, pound foolish for La Liga to stay with beIN, regardless of what they pay. BeIN has ~1/5th the distribution of ESPN, Fox Sports and NBCSN. La Liga happens to have once-in-a-generation stars in Messi and Ronaldo and to not showcase them in the US, is simply a very imprudent business decision. On a personal level as a soccer fan, it makes me angry that a spectacle like El Classico should only be viewed by a paltry 2 million people in the US. That’s like having the Mona Lisa and keeping it locked in a basement for nobody to see. If La Liga go with beIN again, that’d be madness. Their brand will fall even further behind that of the EPL and it will create a gap that they will never be able to bridge. I hope they show some common sense.

  14. Kobashi

    March 24, 2015 at 10:27 am

    What is Oliver saying?!?!?!?

  15. Jyde

    March 24, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Gaffer, when will a winner be announced for both EPL and La Liga rights?

    • Christopher Harris

      March 24, 2015 at 10:32 am

      With La Liga, it depends on how long the bidding process goes and whether they do a second round.

      With the EPL, watch for an article coming soon with more details.

      • GallipoliVC

        March 24, 2015 at 11:44 am

        Spill the beans Gaffer!!! We are all on pins and needles…

      • 3 horses

        March 24, 2015 at 1:57 pm

        MEDIAPRO did not do business that way (formal blind bidding process) in past cycle.

        I understand that MEDIAPRO approached the likes of GOL, Univision, and beIN informally last time before MEDIAPRO negotiated with beIN exclusively after MEDIAPRO figured out that beIN was willing to overpay substantially (reportedly over $40 million/year for US rights to La Liga.)

      • Ensar

        May 9, 2017 at 3:53 pm

        Have any news about ESPN,Fox Bidding? The beIN deal expires after this season.

        • Christopher Harris

          May 9, 2017 at 4:08 pm

          No news yet.

          • Oliver Tse

            May 10, 2017 at 12:57 am

            beIN did a 5-year deal with La Liga in 2015.

            Current deal does not expire until 2020.

  16. CBF 1914-2014

    March 24, 2015 at 9:37 am

    Univision Deportes started because they wanted La Liga to complement Liga MX that goes on later in the day, IMO it would have been killer if that happened and I’d give my left nut to see that arrangement.

    ESPN for English Language
    Univision para Espanol.

  17. JJ

    March 24, 2015 at 8:58 am

    All I know is BeINSports has the dumbest name for a sports channel. It’s beyond cheesy and stupid. Be In Sports? Really?

    • Christopher Harris

      March 24, 2015 at 9:25 am

      Would you prefer their previous name, Al Jazeera Sports?

      • JJ

        March 24, 2015 at 10:23 am

        No..but for god’s sake, Be In Sports? That’s the name they came up with?

        • 3 horses

          March 25, 2015 at 9:33 am

          bien = good (in French and Spanish)

          bien sports = good sports

          The branding genius transposed the “i” and the “e” to come up with the original “beIN Sport”, which was later Americanized into “beIN Sports”.

  18. Marc

    March 24, 2015 at 8:49 am

    Gaffer, any idea who will have the SPFL next season? Goltv is hurting for leagues and they started to show the Scottish FA Cup.

    • Christopher Harris

      March 24, 2015 at 9:01 am

      No news yet, Marc.

    • Cody

      March 24, 2015 at 9:17 am

      I’d love for someone to pick up the Scottish Premiership. Next year should actually be decent again, assuming Rangers get the 2nd promotion spot.

      • Marc

        March 24, 2015 at 10:10 am

        Fox Soccer Plus has the rights this. They show the Premiership and the Championship matches along with the League Cup. This year has been a pretty decent season. Celtic is not running away with the title. If Aberdeen got the penalty they deserved last Saturday they would of moved up to 4 points off the Tims. It shows that the SPFL does not need the Old Firm. The League is better off with out the cheating Huns.

        • Cody

          March 24, 2015 at 12:40 pm

          To be honest, I didn’t know fox soccer plus still existed. I could care less about Rangers, as I’m a Hearts man, but I think having both Glasgow clubs in the league makes a big difference.

        • yespage

          March 24, 2015 at 12:58 pm

          They don’t show much though, don’t they?

  19. Cody

    March 24, 2015 at 8:48 am

    My money is on BeIn retaining the rights, but I’d love Fox or ESPN to take it.

  20. tim

    March 24, 2015 at 7:07 am

    Does anyone really care about La Liga besides Barca and Real? The answer is a hard NO. I cant see ESPN throwing big money and NBC is going to have to break the bank to keep EPL and i hope they do. That would leave Fox which already has MLS, Bundesliga(next year) and UEFA champions league. With that said i think BeIN does a great job and hope they keep it.

    • Cody

      March 24, 2015 at 9:15 am

      People who enjoy watching La Liga care about it. I have to upgrade 2 cable packages to get BeIn, which amounts to about $60 a month.

      Keep it affordable, imo.

  21. Chris

    March 23, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    Praying beIN sports doesn’t retain La Liga rights next season. Im not sure if i can take another weekend listening to Phil Schoen making my ears bleed. Hopefully NBC can get it considering their coverage of the EPL is phenomenal. If not, FOX or ESPN would still do a far better job than beIN.

    • Casey G

      March 24, 2015 at 12:54 am

      Church, Phil and Ray Hudson are the absolute death of commentary, they provide no insight into the game what-so-ever. I’d rather listen to games in Spanish when they’re announcing.

  22. NaBUru38

    March 23, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    Let’s be honest, most viewers only care about Real Madrid and Barcelona. I doubt that a major channel will buy all matches. They will buy 2 or 3, and leave the rest for a small channel.

    • Fred the Red

      March 23, 2015 at 10:26 pm

      That might be true but the Spanish league is ahead of the premier league.
      The casuals will catch a game with a Sevilla or Villarreal maybe Bilbao and they will be impressed by the way they play.
      It’s becoming an outdated argument in regards to la liga being two teams only. The 6 best Spanish sides would beat their English counterparts. Chelsea is the only side I’d say good enough to win against Real or Barcelona that’s from thepremier league. The smaller club’s would very well take increased exposure on bigger channels opening up markets for them across the world.

      • yespage

        March 24, 2015 at 9:21 am

        The top Spanish sides can beat the EPL teams because they play in a very weak league with little parity. The EPL has become extremely tight, competitiveness wise, and EPL teams can’t play weak sides in Domestic play to set up for European play and expect an easy 3 points.

        • Flyvanescence

          March 24, 2015 at 9:58 am

          Except that the lower half Spanish sides would beat the lower half Prem sides 4 out of 5 times.

  23. Toby

    March 23, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    La Liga has a choice to make. Do they go for the exposure and take less money or take the biggest contract as so many La Liga teams are broke.

    Bein Sport are going to have the biggest bid because they need La Liga because it is their biggest property. The problem for La Liga is on a channel that most Americans don’t have.

    ESPN, Fox and NBC could take La Liga rights but it is deemed not as attractive property as the BPL because Real and Barcelona only have 2 or 3 competitive games a season and doesn’t get the numbers of American viewers, English football gets. Great exposure on these main channels would be good for the brand but less in the wallet.

    BPL clubs are actually getting bigger sponsorship deals based on the fact the BPL now gets mainstream coverage on US TV now.

    My money is on Bein retaining the rights because La Liga are desperate for money and only think short term.

  24. e. charles

    March 23, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    Ray Hudson, Kay Murray, Ian Joy and BeIn Sports. No other network will do.

  25. Ivan

    March 23, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    I am perfectly fine with BeIN keeping the rights to the best football league in the world.

    I have BeIN on DirectV in HD and I am loving it.

    We had quite a crowd yesterday at home for El Clasico. The women in attendance who don’t usually watch football enjoyed every second of the game, especially the colorful commentary by Mr. Hudson.

    It was a festival of football that game!

    • jtm371

      March 23, 2015 at 6:55 pm

      I heard the play acting and diving was awful is that true?

      • Flyvanescence

        March 23, 2015 at 7:46 pm

        Ronaldo booked for diving but that was his only incident.
        Neymar did his best to get Carvajal sent off dropped like a fly every challenge.
        Pepe made the most of a couple challenges on him as did Mascherano. (Tough guys lol!)

        Ref was quick to the bookings but also swallowed his whistle many occasions and no reds. Great job for me.

        Other than that an incredible game. The skill and ability of those teams is incredible.

  26. Smokey Bacon

    March 23, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    ESPN getting it would be great news as it would rule them out of the bidding for the EPL and Fox doesn’t have the pockets to go it alone against NBC.

    I could not care less about BeIN. They have been a big disappointment.

  27. Peter Quinn

    March 23, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    No idea why ESPN wouldn’t blow everyone out of the water and take the rights to La Liga. With the growth of the league globally and the Spanish population in the states, it would be a home run for ESPN.

    ESPN Deportes would see record numbers too.

    • garwilly

      March 23, 2015 at 10:08 pm

      All i hope is Fox doesn’t get it, I hope ESPN does cause they have zero football and MLS is more boring than watching paint dry.

    • yespage

      March 24, 2015 at 8:44 am

      How much money is it worth to pay to broadcast two teams? Be nice to have it available on ESPN2, but I doubt it.

  28. jtm371

    March 23, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    With the oil market crashing will that hurt beIN’s chance to retain la Liga? I think ESPN or Fox will get it. NBC will do everything to retain EPL.

  29. GallipoliVC

    March 23, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    Wouldn’t it be great for NBC to have LA Liga and EPL? Doubt it will happen as Fox will likely end up with LA Liga. I sort of like beIN, especially when Kay Murray is on.

    • Flyvanescence

      March 23, 2015 at 5:56 pm

      NBC gets La Liga and Prem, and brings Kay Murray ober from BeIn while also keeping Rebecca 🙂

      Actually i wouldnt mind BeIn keeping La Liga. I love me some Ray Hudson.

      • GallipoliVC

        March 23, 2015 at 11:14 pm

        Rebecca and Kay together? 7 a.m wouldn’t seem so early on a Saturday to see those two. Who do I have to write to make that happen? The pen is mightier…. I agree about Ray, he’s magestirial!

  30. cnl. onions

    March 23, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    Please no beIN or Gol again.

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