RFEF invites rights bids for Copa del Rey final and mulls Saudi offer for Supercopa
The RFEF, the Spanish soccer federation, has launched a tender process for the domestic media rights to the final of this season’s Copa del Rey, the national cup competition, which takes place in just over a month’s time.
The federation will be seeking the best possible financial offer for the match between holders Barcelona and Valencia in Seville on 25 May, and the process comes amid reports that it is in talks over a lucrative deal under which the Supercopa de España, presently the curtain-raiser to the season, would be staged in Saudi Arabia for the next six years.
A deadline of 6 May has been imposed for the submission of bids for the rights to the final of the Copa del Rey, and the envelopes will be opened on 7 May with a view to making an award that day or on 8 May.
It is anticipated that the contract will be formalised on 10 May.
The rights to the final are sold separately from the rest of the tournament as under Spanish regulations the match has to be shown nationwide on a free-to-air basis.
The RFEF will be hoping to surpass the €3 million ($3.4 million) it earned from the sale of the rights to the 2018 final to TVE, the Spanish public-service broadcaster, in a deal that was concluded just 10 days before the Barcelona-Sevilla contest took place.
In addition to TVE, possible contenders for this year’s final include Mediaset España, the Spanish commercial broadcaster which operates free-to-air channels Telecinco and Cuatro, and Mediapro, the sports rights and production company which owns free-to-air sports channel Gol.
Gol is the main free-to-air broadcaster of the Copa del Rey up to the final in a three-year deal that expires at the end of this season, but has sub-licensed rights to selected matches this season to BeIN Sports LaLiga, the pay-TV service operated by BeIN Media Group and Mediapro, and TV3, the regional public-service broadcaster in Catalonia.
The Supercopa, the annual contest between the winners of LaLiga and the Copa del Rey, could be set to relocate to Saudi Arabia for the next six years after the Gulf state’s government made an offer of €30 million per annum, according to Spanish newspaper Marca.
It is reported that negotiations are ongoing and a deal has yet to be agreed.
However, there could even be a longer-term deal and the RFEF is also considering whether the Supercopa could be moved around.
This season’s event, which involved Barcelona and Sevilla, was held in Tangier in Morocco as a single match, a break from the tradition of a two-legged contest held at the stadiums of the participating teams.
In February, the RFEF unveiled a proposed overhaul of the Supercopa, under which the event would expand to four teams, as well as being held abroad.
It has also been mooted that the event could move from August to January in the 2019-20 season.
A decision on the future format is expected at the RFEF general assembly on 29 April.
Saudi Arabia already has a multi-year deal to stage the Supercoppa Italiana, Italy's annual contest between the Serie A and Coppa Italia winners, but there was criticism of the decision to go ahead with this January's match between Juventus and AC Milan in Jeddah in the wake of the as-yet-unsolved murder of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last autumn.