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Gap from top to bottom narrows in LaLiga’s distribution of €1.42bn in TV revenues

BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 27: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates with the La Liga trophy (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

A total of €1.42bn ($1.59bn) in domestic and international broadcast revenues was distributed among the 20 teams in Spanish football’s top-tier LaLiga in 2018-19 as the gap between top and bottom narrowly reduced.

LaLiga, the body that oversees the top-tier LaLiga Santander and second-tier LaLiga SmartBank, has released the revenue distribution figures with league champions Barcelona first in the rankings for the top flight, securing €166.5m.

The ratio between that figure and the total of €44.2m received by bottom LaLiga Santander side Huesca was 3.5:1, a slight fall on the ratio of 3.6:1 in 2017-18.

The €1.42bn total, a marked jump on the €1.33bn distributed by LaLiga in 2017-18, stems from media rights revenues garnered in the last season of LaLiga’s domestic and international deals, with new agreements having kicked in this season.

LaLiga distributes the centralised net income generated by national and international broadcast deals, that is to say, all income from the deals commercialisation, production, promotion and management expenses.

Real Madrid finished second behind their fierce rivals in the media-rights revenue table with €155.3m. Atlético Madrid, the only other side to receive a nine-figure sum, were third with €119.2m.

Payments to clubs are devised through a system introduced after the 2015 Royal Decree that reintroduced centralised rights selling in Spanish football. Along with rights to the top two divisions, LaLiga has also distributed centralised rights to the Copa del Rey (excluding the final).

The 90 per cent of the revenues distributed among the LaLiga Santander clubs is performed as follows:

  • 50 per cent distributed equally among clubs
  • 25 per cent distributed according to sporting results over the past five seasons (and with a greater weight given to more recent seasons)
  • 25 per cent based on ‘social influence’

One third of the social influence figure is determined by the club’s average income from season tickets and gate receipts over the past five seasons. The remaining two thirds is worked out by comparing the clubs’ average television audiences.

Under section 6.1 of the Royal Decree, which took effect on centralised rights distribution in 2016-17, clubs must allocate 7 per cent of their incomes as “obligations”. This equated to €99.4m in 2018-19.

The obligations comprise: a compensation fund for relegated clubs; payment to the league for national and international promotion of LaLiga; a payment to the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) for developing amateur football; and a contribution to the National Sports Council (CSD) to protect workers’ rights and develop women’s football, lower-league football and referees.

In the country’s second-tier LaLiga Smartbank, Malaga received the highest rights revenue figure (€30m). The lowest earners were Extremadura and Rayo Majadahonda with €5.6m each, creating a ratio of 5.35:1 between the biggest and smallest earners.

Details of the full club-by-club distribution figures can be found here.