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Sales process begins for Copa del Rey broadcast rights in rest of the world

Valencia celebrate after the Spanish Copa del Rey match between Barcelona and Valencia on May 25, 2019 in Seville. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has followed up its Copa del Rey broadcast rights invitation to tender in European Union countries by initiating the sales process in the rest of the world.

Centralised rights to at least 33 games from the round of 32 onwards are on offer after the RFEF issued the ITT document, asking bidders to lodge their offers by the end of the day on October 7.

The rights cover the 2019-20 to 2021-22 period and exclude betting video rights and in-flight/in-ship rights.

The RFEF is being advised on the process by the Sportradar agency.

A total of 18 (non-EU) countries are included in the RFEF’s Europe region for the new sales process. These include Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Russia, Turkey, Israel and the Central Asia trio of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan.

The rights package in the Middle East and North Africa excludes Saudi Arabia, where the rights are being sold separately. Qatar-based BeIN Sports, which holds LaLiga rights in the MENA region until 2024, has been blocked from operating in Saudi Arabia as it continues to battle the Saudi-based beoutQ pirate operation.

A total of 19-territory specific packages are on offer elsewhere in Asia, plus single packages in Australia and New Zealand.

Rights in Africa have been split by language. A sub-Saharan rights package for exclusive coverage in French is available, along with an English-language rights package across the region (including South Africa). A Portuguese-language package covers Angola and Mozambique, while the Swahili-language rights on offer cover Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

Interested parties can bid across a total of five rights packages in the Americas, namely those covering Brazil, Canada, Mexico, South America (excluding Brazil) and USA. The ‘Mexico’ package also includes exclusive rights in Belize, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, El Savador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, plus non-exclusive rights in the Caribbean (also included in the USA package).

The RFEF has stipulated that at least 14 games per season must be shown by any broadcaster acquiring the rights and that broadcasting the semi-finals and finals remains “mandatory”.

B4 Capital, the London-based agency that is no longer operational, previously held the international rights to the Copa del Rey final (and Spanish Super Cup) from 2014-15 to 2017-18.

In May, the RFEF invited bids for the European broadcast rights to the 2018-19 Copa del Rey final, working in an advisory capacity on the rights auction with Sportradar and For Media Sports Management, the Dubai-based consultancy headed by Emanuele Villari, B4’s former head of rights sales and acquisitions in Europe.

In selling the centralised rights from the round of 32 onwards, the RFEF has departed from its previous stance of just selling international rights to just the Copa del Rey final, along with the Spanish Super Cup, the match between the cup-holders and the LaLiga champions. Broadcast rights to the Copa del Rey, excluding the final, were previously sold by LaLiga.

A similar sales process was launched in EU countries earlier this month, as reported by SportBusiness, with a deadline of October 1 set.

Referencing the move to sell centralised rights to Spain’s knockout clubs competition, the RFEF has cited the 2015 Royal Decree, which governs sports broadcast rights sales in Spain.

Within the European Union invitation to tender document, the RFEF said that it is “empowered to carry out the commercialisation of audiovisual rights in accordance with article 2 of Royal Decree Law 5/2015, which indicates that participation in an official professional football competition will necessarily entail the transfer of the powers to commercialise its rights held by the participating clubs to the organising entity (RFEF) to jointly commercialise said rights”.

In terms of production arrangements, the RFEF has committed to ensuring that a minimum of 33 games will be offered. Broadcasters who go on to acquire the rights will be required to pay technical costs of €1,500 ($1,659) per game to receive the signal.

Participating Copa del Rey clubs will be able to broadcast delayed coverage of matches on their own channels one hour after the games finish. The RFEF has reserved the right to show match highlights on its own digital platform, while broadcasters who acquire the rights will also be able to show match highlights of up to four minutes in length.

The RFEF intends to inform bidders by October 30 if they have been awarded the rights during the new cycle, although the national football federation also anticipates a second phase of bidding if bids in certain territories are unsatisfactory. The full ITT document can be found here.