Tebas targets €2.3bn from LaLiga rights sales in 2019-20
Spanish soccer’s top-tier LaLiga expects to generate €2.3 billion ($2.7 billion) per season from the sale of broadcasting rights in the next cycle starting in 2019, according to its president Javier Tebas.
He provided an anticipated breakdown of €1.3 billion from the domestic market and €1 billion internationally.
Last month, Jaume Roures, a major shareholder of Mediapro, the Spanish rights agency that is one of LaLiga’s main partners, claimed the value of the deals would go up from around €1.6 billion per year in the current cycle to €2 billion in 2019-20.
However, Tebas is even more optimistic, saying at a Europa Sports Breakfast in Madrid today: “I think we’re going to reach €2.3 billion so Mr Roures is going to have to bet more for the football rights. That is the goal I am proposing.
“There will be television operators who tell me I’m completely mad. They said it four years ago and I was not wrong.”
Tebas hopes to conclude rights deals for the next cycle by March of next year.
At present, Mediapro holds extensive pay-TV rights to LaLiga and Copa del Rey games, all of which are showcased on the BeIN Sports channels in Spain, in a three-year agreement worth €1.9 billion that runs to the end of the 2018-19 season.
Meanwhile, Movistar Plus, the satellite and IPTV pay-TV service of telecoms giant Telefónica, shows the first-choice top-flight match each week, plus a selection of second division games, in a three-year deal worth €750 million.
LaLiga broadcasting revenues have climbed significantly since the introduction of collective rights sales in 2015.
Tebas said on Tuesday he would “never” get tired of “thanking Miguel Cardenal [the then head of the Spanish government’s Higher Sports Council] for the Royal Decree on the centralised sale of rights of May 2015."
He added: “We have experienced a 15-per-cent rise in pay-TV. We are on the right track despite the messages that it is very expensive, and they started in 2003.”
Tebas also anticipates improvements in television coverage, saying LaLiga’s objective is for all stadiums to have the same production standards as those of top clubs Real Madrid and Barcelona.
He said: “We want to believe the image will be always the same. No league in Europe has 10 aerial cameras and they will end up being at all the pitches.”
LaLiga is set to launch a new international media rights tender, which was delayed last month amid uncertainty over what the crisis in the region of Catalonia could mean for top club Barcelona.
In the wake of a disputed referendum, the Catalan government declared independence, but the Spanish government responded by applying Article 155 of the Spanish constitution and taking direct control of the region, dismissing the administration there and calling new elections for 21 December.
This is thought to have cleared the way for the tender for rights coming into effect for the 2018-19 season and covering Europe and various Asian markets.
Tebas said today: “Now that [situation] is history because the government has done what it had to do. Let’s go to the market, let’s go on sale.”
LaLiga and its appointed agency Mediapro succeeded in tripling the value of the league’s international media rights from €240 million in the final year of the 2012-13 to 2014-15 cycle to at least €640 million per season from 2015-16 to 2017-18.
Tebas has previously played down the impact that Barcelona leaving LaLiga would have on the league, saying: “You may think Barcelona is 50 per cent of the competition, but it is not like that. I estimate it would be around 20 to 25 per cent.”
He said today: "Independence was a problem, but we would have suffered less than they said."
The league still sees considerable potential for growth in international markets as shown by a new campaign it is rolling out in 189 countries with the slogan: 'It's not football. It's LaLiga.'
There are also plans for special events in various markets in Africa and Asia to coincide with the Clásico between Real Madrid and Barcelona on 23 December.
In his presentation, the Tebas stressed the league not only has to compete with other soccer competitions, but “with Netflix, with HBO, with every entertainment industry."
He added: “We have recruited people from Netflix, Facebook people, we need experts in every field. Today Juan Carlos Franco joins as director of ‘big data’. I was doing this job at [bank] BBVA.”
Tebas continued: “Today the Bundesliga is opening an office in New York. Now they are copying us in competitions. We have to follow what the big leisure and entertainment multinationals do, we have not invented anything.”
In a further development, Tebas confirmed that LaLiga would introduce video assistant referee technology in the league next season, following the example of other leagues, including Germany’s Bundesliga and Italy’s Serie A.
Testing will begin in the second leg of the Copa del Rey tie between Atletico Madrid and Elche on 29 November.