Big two dominate LaLiga TV money table but gap to lowest earners closes
By Simon Ward
Spanish soccer giants Barcelona and Real Madrid remain by far the highest earners in LaLiga in terms of television rights revenue, albeit the ratio between the elite and the lowest income clubs shrank in the 2017-18 season.
Figures issued by LaLiga last week show that, for the second successive campaign, Barcelona received the highest amount, netting €154 million ($176.2 million).
This was €6 million more than Real Madrid, the club they deposed as league champions, with €148 million, and runners-up€100-million barrier, with €110.6 million (see table below).
A total of €1.326 billion in audiovisual revenue was paid out to the 20 top-tier LaLiga clubs in 2017-18 although 7 per cent of that figure (€92.8 million) was deducted as obligations, including 3.5 per cent in compensation to relegated teams.
Barcelona earned nearly 3.6 times as much as Girona and Leganes, the lowest income teams, which both received €43.3 million. This compares with the ratio of 3.7 between the highest and lowest earners in 2016-17.
Barcelona and the two Madrid clubs together accounted for more than 30 per cent of the total handout.
The payments are based on a formula laid down in Spain’s Royal Decree Law of 2015 under which LaLiga returned to collective selling of media rights, and which takes into account social factors such as attendances and TV audiences.
In the 2014-15 season, when individual rights selling was still in force, the revenue ratio between the top and bottom club was 6.5.
The Spanish league still has some way to go to match the relative egalitarianism of the Premier League where the highest earning team received 1.6 times more than the least successful outfit in 2017-18. This is set to rise to at least 1.8 under a new system covering the distribution of international rights revenues.
In the second-tier Segunda División, the 22 clubs shared €180.6 million in media rights revenues last season, of which €10.3 million went out in obligations.
The ratio between the highest earner Granada (€22.9 million) and the lowest earner Lorca (€5.2 million) was 4.4.