SPANISH TV RIGHTS – FAIR AT LAST?

The Premier League has many faults, but it remains one of the richest leagues in world football. Part of the attraction of foreign players to mid-table English clubs is the exposure and the money offered; a report by Deloitte into the richest clubs in the game shows that whilst not topping the list, all 20 EPL clubs were part of the top 40 revenue generating clubs globally.

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Needless to say, football broadcasting is a lucrative industry, and the most recent TV deal for the EPL was a record £5.1 billion venture with BT Sport and Sky Sports to show live games between 2016 and 2019. 95% of this figure will go directly to the clubs, split equally between 20 of them. Conversely, the situation is completely different in Spain. The two titans, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid have a much, much greater share of TV revenue than all the other clubs combined. 2013/2014 season’s La Liga Champions, Atlético Madrid, received 41.7 million in TV revenue, whilst Cardiff City, the team that finished last in the Premier League, received 83.2 million euros. This is because media rights are negotiated separately between each club and the TV operators, leading to the massive inequity of revenue.

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Arguably, the current distribution of revenue was unfair to any club that isn’t Barcelona or Madrid. It was also argued that this meant that smaller teams were less competitive and as a result, La Liga is a “two horse race”. The latter part of that statement is patently not true if one watches La Liga, but the former may have its merits. Thus, under the new rules brought in by the Spanish Government, 90% of revenue will go to all 20 clubs, with half of that equally shared, and the other half split according to other criteria. The remaining 10% is to be allocated to second division, ‘Segunda’, clubs.

The clubs will still continue to own their media rights, but ‘are obliged to assign the right to commercialize them to the organizing bodies of the competition‘ – i.e. LFP and RFEF. No longer will Madrid and Barcelona be able to negotiate a TV rights deal on their own, that massively benefits them. However, the fact that half of the money allocated to La Liga is split based on criteria such as performance and size of the club means that there is still likely to be relative imbalance in income. Still, it is likely that this joint sale will mean a much better, more lucrative deal overall, and this can only be beneficial to clubs whose TV revenue income is likely to increase.

 

 

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