Spain’s football governing body La Liga plans to launch an OTT service, similar to Netflix, with LaLiga 1/2/3 and la Copa del Rey (King’s Cup), if the forthcoming tender for the TV rights for the next three seasons (from 2019) is declared void.
La Liga aims to secure €1.3 billion a year for the TV rights, an increase of 30 per cent, but pay-TV operators are not willing to pay such a sum, considering it as non-profitable for them.
“If the bids do not meet our expectations we won’t grant the rights. We may bet on OTT or different alliance models.” said Javier Tebas, president of La Liga at a conference in Barcelona, adding that La Liga is already working on an OTT service “that will be multi-platform with other sports as a key tool to giving value to our product”.
“If we want €1.3 billion and we only obtain €800 million for this premium content, we will have fewer (financial resources) and will make it difficult to have the best players,” he warned.
Spanish pay TV operators are turning their back on football TV rights as they see them as an unprofitable burden.
There are 3 million subscribers to football packages, half the total pay-TV market, of which 400,000 are served by Vodafone and Orange and the rest by Movistar. Operators estimate that they should charge each subscriber €60 a month to cover all costs, when they actually earn €20 a month on average.
In the previous tender for the football TV rights for the Champions League and Europa League for the next three seasons, 2018-2021, held by Mediapro, Vodafone eventually refused to bid for the rights, whereas Telefónica and Orange submitted an offer much lower than that required by Mediapro. Pay-TV operators are seeking to negotiate a much cheaper price for the rights.
Other options are OTT platforms such as Amazon, Netflix or even Google and Facebook, who may be interested in breaking into the football business, but have never paid such a high sum of money elsewhere for similar rights.