International TV viewership up nearly 50 per cent as LaLiga returns
There was a healthy increase in the international and domestic television audiences for LaLiga as the Spanish league returned after a three-month break caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Outside Spain, viewing figures for Matchday 28 were up 48 per cent compared to the average for the earlier part of the season.
The biggest growth was in Africa, up 73 per cent, including an increase of 210 per cent in South Africa, closely followed by India, where the league is shown on Facebook, up 72 per cent, according to Nielsen Sports.
There was rise of 56 per cent across Europe, with a particular spike in Belgium (more than 130 per cent) where the domestic league has been terminated as a result of the pandemic.
The most-viewed matches were Real Madrid’s 3-1 win over Eibar (pictured) on Sunday, leaders Barcelona’s 4-0 victory at Real Mallorca on Saturday and Sevilla’s 2-0 defeat of local rivals Real Betis in the first game back last Thursday.
In Spain itself, the TV audience for the most recent round of matches was up 12.6 per cent, swelled to some extent by the fact that, for health and safety reasons, spectators are presently excluded from matches.
LaLiga president Javier Tebas said: "At Liga we feel privileged to be able to take to the field again and we're very happy to have the opportunity to offer live sports entertainment at a time when there are few events like this around the world. We hope that other competitions in other regions will also start soon, because it's important for the fans and the industry.
“We're grateful to all of the fans who've followed LaLiga for the restart, because we've all worked hard to offer them entertainment again.”
Oscar Mayo, LaLiga's director of business, marketing and international development, added: "We're very pleased with the exponential growth in the figures for LaLiga's international audience. We knew that fans around the world were keen to enjoy the excitement and entertainment we offer.
"Achieving a rise of almost 50 per cent in our international audience is a reflection of the hard work put in by our international broadcasters, the clubs and the competition itself over these last few months."
In Spain, the main broadcaster of LaLiga matches is Movistar Plus, the pay-TV operator owned by Spanish telecoms giant Telefónica.
Again, the most-viewed match was Real Madrid-Eibar (852,000), ahead of Real Mallorca-Barcelona (780,000) and Sevilla-Real Betis (756,000), according to figures obtained by Palco23.
Especially in international markets LaLiga will face more competition for eyeballs for the rest of the season now that England’s Premier League has resumed, with two matches last night, and Italy’s Serie A gets back under way this coming weekend.
• LaLiga club Valencia are reported to be taking legal action against the RFEF, the national federation, over the distribution of prize money from this year’s revamped Supercopa de España.
The club has filed a claim for damages after receiving only €800,000 ($900,000) of the €2.5 million it was expecting from the event held in Saudi Arabia, according to El Mundo.
Valencia qualified for the competition by winning the 2018-19 Copa del Rey and were joined by defending league champions Barcelona, plus Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid, as the competition was expanded from two to four teams and held in Jeddah for the first time.
It has been claimed that Barcelona, which like Valencia went out in the semi-finals, received €6.8 million, while Real Madrid, the ultimate winners, earned €12 million.