beIN SPORTS is close to agreeing a landmark TV rights deal to continue its coverage of La Liga to viewers in the United States, a source has revealed to World Soccer Talk.
The current TV rights deal with La Liga expired at the end of the 2014/15 La Liga season, a year in which we saw Barcelona win the title after surpassing Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in the race for the Spanish crown. The end of the Spanish season was thrown into chaos when players went on strike to protest a new TV deal in April. And the TV rights drama in subsequent months has been nothing but a mess.
However, there has been progress.
First, Spanish telecommunications giant Telefonica has bought the domestic TV rights for La Liga for $660 million for the 2015-16 season.
Second, while Mediapro and Telefonica battle it out to acquire the international TV rights to La Liga, so they can resell it to TV networks worldwide, a source has revealed to World Soccer Talk that beIN SPORTS is close to finalizing a deal.
According to the source, beIN SPORTS is very close to finalizing contracts that would grant the TV network the rights to La Liga coverage in the United States for the next five years. The source added that the network is very confident of acquiring the rights in the very near future.
That would guarantee that beIN SPORTS will be the home of one of the top leagues in the world through 2020, and would give La Liga the revenue to continue to grow the league and share among the teams in the top flight.
What isn’t known yet, however, is whether Barcelona and el Clasico will be part of the TV rights deal between La Liga and beIN SPORT. Earlier this year, Telefonica acquired the rights to el Clasico separately. Telefonica also acquired the international rights to Barcelona games, as well as Espanyol, Real Sociedad and Celta Vigo.
Once an announcement is made by beIN SPORTS, more details will be revealed.
If and when beIN SPORTS is able to acquire the US TV rights to La Liga, this will be a significant coup in the network’s history. In March 2012, beIN SPORTS won the US TV rights to La Liga for 2012/13 through 2014/15, beating out previous rights holder GolTV.
As of press time, no details have been announced regarding TV rights in Canada.
Meanwhile, the Spanish Football Federation today announced the fixtures for the opening weekend of the 2015/16 La Liga season. Kick-off times haven’t been finalized yet, but the schedule is as follows:
Levante vs. Celta Vigo
Atletico Madrid vs. Las Palmas
Malaga vs. Sevilla
Athletic Bilbao vs. Barcelona
Granada vs. Eibar
Espanyol vs. Getafe
Real Betis vs. Villarreal
Sporting de Gijon vs. Real Madrid
Deportivo la Coruna vs. Real Sociedad
Rayo Vallecano vs. Valencia
The matches will be played over the weekend of August 21-24.
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