Football Management

Commentary on the management of over 160 English football clubs by Dr John Beech, winner of the FSF Writer of the Year Award 2009/10 Twitter: @JohnBeech Curator of Scoop.it! Football Finance

La Liga broadcasts at risk

Posted by John Beech on June 18, 2010

With all the column inches being given over vuvuzelas, injuries and the choice of goalkeeper, the English media’s preoccupation with the World Cup is at the expense of other, perhaps more important, football stories.  This particular one I would probably have missed had it not been for Supporters Direct Europe‘s eagle-eyed polyglot, Antonia Hagemann, who kindly alerted me to this Spanish (language) URL.

The report she passed me, together with some US ones I’ve managed to find (1, 2, 3), says that Mediapro is seeking ‘bankruptcy protection’, which, in my ignorance of Spanish financial law, I take to be more or less the equivalent of Voluntary Administration.  The situation with football broadcasting is different from England, and more like that in the Netherlands – rights are not bargained collectively by the appropriate league, but are negotiated individually by clubs.  In the case of Mediapro they held the rights of all La Liga clubs except Teneriffe, and those of most of the second tier clubs.

The decision is part of an ongoing battle with rival broadcaster Sogecable, so may not be as simple as it at first appears.  Whatever the reasons though, Spanish viewers may not be able to see La Liga on their televisions next season.  In fact, they have just announced the extension of their contract with Barcelona (4).

We have seen problems with broadcasters folding in the shape of ITV Digital (2002) and more recently with Setanta.  It would seem likely that this Spanish situation will not be resolved by a quick resale of rights.

To come back to home with a jolt, Sky have announced that their Sports News service is to be pulled from the Freeview bundle, and will become a pay-TV channel.  I for one will no longer be joining Jeff Stelling; nor am I dancing in the streets at the news.

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