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LaLiga TV rights split by Movistar and DAZN in €4.9bn deal

Spanish soccer league agrees five-year domestic broadcast deal for the first time.

14 December 2021 Rory Jones

Getty Images

  • Movistar and DAZN to each air five matches per week
  • Previous three-year deal signed in 2018 worth €2.94m

Spanish soccer’s top-flight LaLiga has agreed a pair of new domestic broadcast partnerships with telecommunications giant Telefónica and digital sports media specialist DAZN worth €4.95 billion (US$5.58 billion) in total. 

The new contract, which will run from the start of the 2022/23 season until the end of the 2026/27 campaign, sees DAZN make its most significant rights acquisition in Spain to date, and ends pay-TV network Movistar’s run as LaLiga’s main domestic broadcast partner. Both broadcasters will air five LaLiga matches per fixture round, with the exception of three full matchdays per season, which the Telefónica-owned broadcaster will air exclusively.

James Rushton, DAZN co-chief executive, said: “The award of these LaLiga rights represents a strategic local investment for us in a key market, and is all part of the global momentum that we are driving across our business, which continues at pace. This is further proof that we are well past the tipping point in the migration of fans from viewing sports on linear pay TV, to streaming services.”

The new deals, which are the longest domestic TV rights contracts ever signed by LaLiga, represent a slight increase in value from the current cycle. Telefónica’s previous deal, signed in 2018, was worth €2.94 billion (US$3.32 billion) over three years. The new five-year contracts see LaLiga’s domestic rights revenues increase from €980 million (US$1.1 billion) to €990 million (US$1.12 billion) per season.

With domestic deals for commercial premises and the Segunda free-to-air (FTA) package anticipated in the first quarter of 2022, LaLiga can expect to bring in more than €1.1 billion (US$1.24 billion) a year over the course of its next domestic cycle. Currently, Telefónica pays €35 million (US$39.6 million) annually for its LaLiga Segunda FTA deal and Mediapro another €100 million (US$113 million) for the bar business.

The increase, however minor, represents a win for LaLiga in the media rights market. A number of Europe’s other elite soccer leagues, such as the Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1, all saw a reduction in value from their previous domestic broadcast partnerships when signing new deals over the last 12 months.

The Premier League, which LaLiga still trails in terms media rights revenue, opted to roll over its existing domestic deals for another three years on the same terms.

The awarding of its domestic rights contracts came after LaLiga’s clubs voted to approve an investment deal with private equity firm CVC. The €2 billion (US$2.25 billion) deal will see the capital firm secure a 8.25 per cent share in a company comprising of LaLiga’s media rights assets for the next 50 years.

Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Athletic Bilbao, who all opted out of the deal, will not receive any cash from CVC, but retain their full allocation of central media rights income.

According to Reuters, LaLiga data shows that Spanish pay-TV subscriptions have decreased by four million during the 2016/17 season to 2.5 million for the 2020/21 campaign. The agency’s report says CVC believes that figure can grow again to 4.4 million.

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