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Spain approves new TV rights model

A meeting of Spain’s cabinet has approved a Royal Decree mandating collective bargaining for TV rights from the 2016-2017 season, similar to the English Premier League’s model.

The new negotiating system will instill a fair balance between the largest and smallest football teams, with more money for all of them and with broadcasters paying higher rates. So far, La Liga – the only top European league in which clubs negotiated their own TV contracts – earned around €700 million for the TV rights, with the largest teams, Real Madrid and Barcelona each taking €140 million. Under the new model, revenues may reach €1.5 billion, with €700 million-€1 billion from the domestic TV rights and €400 million-€500 million from foreign TV rights, albeit far from the UK’s €2.3 billion a year.

The new legislation, approved by the government as in other countries such asFrance and Italy, introduce a new sharing model: 92 per cent of TV rights revenues will be for the First and Second Divisions teams with half of the income shared out equally between all first division clubs and  the other half shared in accordance to each club’s performance in the previous five seasons, its size, income and other criteria;  3.5 per cent for those teams down to the second division; 2 per cent for the Spanish Football Federation; 1 per cent for La Liga; 0.5 per cent for female football, Segunda B Division and the footballer trade union and 1 per cent for national sports council CSD.

All clubs will benefit from the new deal, which narrows the gap in terms of money between the largest and the smallest teams and mitigating the huge debt of up to €3 billion in some teams. For broadcasters, it is not such good news, as they will have to pay more, with Mediapro – which currently has the rights to many club games – and Telefonica-Canal Plus fiercely fighting for the rights, with Qatar-based Al Jazeera also a player.

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