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International TV rights for La Liga are a mess

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On August 15, the 2015/16 season of La Liga will kick off with millions of soccer fans around the world tuning in to watch one of the most popular leagues in the world. However, with 46 days to go until the new season kicks off, the league and its clubs are still bickering over how the TV rights will be sold and there doesn’t seem to be a resolution forthcoming in the near future.

To make matters worse, there’s one more catch regarding the bidding for TV rights to La Liga: League champions Barcelona are not currently involved in the package deal.

Barcelona, along with Celta Vigo, Espanyol and Real Sociedad, are to be excluded from any international television rights deal in the La Liga package because the four Spanish clubs recently agreed to broadcast their matches through the telecom company Telefonica.  The other 38 clubs from the top two divisions in Spain will have their rights sold via Mediapro.

So that means, as things currently stand in the United States, TV networks such as FOX Sports, ESPN, beIN SPORTS and others would have to bid on the Barcelona TV package separately from the package for La Liga — instead of one network having all of the rights.

Meanwhile, it was previously thought that Real Madrid were also not a part of the deal with Mediapro, as rumors were that the Spanish giants had an agreement in place with Microsoft. However, a Microsoft spokesperson recently declared that any deal with Real Madrid would not include audio/video rights.

The Spanish league said in a statement published on Monday, “In the event that La Liga does not hold all the audiovisual rights for the 2015-16 season, the amount due to the clubs that it does have the rights for will be negotiated.”

Javier Tebas, La Liga’s president, said last week he hoped agreement could be reached with Barcelona and the other three clubs “in coming years.”

An international television deal without the reigning league champions, as well as the Champions League holders, would be a disaster for the Spanish league. With their kind of fanbase, some fans may only decide to pay for TV providers that only offer Barcelona games and may find illegal ways to watch the other league games. Vice-versa, a La Liga TV rights package with Real Madrid and other teams except Barcelona will be a lot less valuable than a package that contains all of the teams involved.

Here in America, Qatar company beIN Sports held TV rights to La Liga matches up until the end of the 2014/15 season, as well as Barca TV.  It remains to be seen if Barca matches will be seen on the network, or if these games will be broadcasted on a separate channel. Either way, La Liga representatives have their work cut out for them to please Spanish soccer fans, and time is running out.

 

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Obinna

    July 3, 2015 at 9:39 am

    BeIN should stick with one or two leagues. 3 is way to many for one channel. NBC has two channels (NBCSN and NBC) along with others (CNBC and USA) for just one league. FOX has 3 channels (FS1, FS2, and FOX) for one league (Bundesliga). ESPN also has 3 channels (ESPN, ESPN2, ABC) and they have nothing. I want ESPN to get it because they already have the ESPN FC cast. Second is FOX. That could be problematic though beachse one would have to go down to FS2. Not BeIN because they have terrible scheduling. Not NBC because they won’t be able to do their unprecedented pre and post games with two leagues. Plus, they need the money for EPL.

  2. soccertvblog

    July 1, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    The plot thickens:
    http://www.rapidtvnews.com/2015070138921/telefonica-outbids-mediapro-on-international-la-liga-rights.html#axzz3eY95Z2iU

    Seems that telefonica has now offered €450 million for the next three seasons for the international rights. That’s €50 million more than Mediapro would initially pay. In addition, it seems that the rights to El Clasico are being offered separately. This is crazy…

  3. Bo

    June 30, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Go NBCSN, get 19 Barcelona matches!

    • Obinna

      July 2, 2015 at 11:01 pm

      How will NBCSN handle Premier League AND Barcelona.

  4. Flyvanescence

    June 30, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Whatever the situation, i hope this gets situated soon cuz i want my Liga soccer. Prefereably BeIn getting it all so that i can continue to use sling for it

  5. soccertvblog

    June 30, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    If I’m not mistaken, TV rights are based on the home team. This means that whoever gets the MediaPro rights, will still get 15 Barcelona road matches (19 total road games minus those at Sociedad, Celta, Espanyol and possibly Real Madrid). So there is still some value to the package.

    It’s also worth noting that beIN are advertising next season’s coverage. It wouldn’t be far fetched to assume beIN have already locked up 1 package (they have a close working relationship with MediaPro) so I am guessing they have not made an official announcement due to still negotiating with Telefonica or whoever owns the int’l rights to Real Madrid.

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