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Tebas: Any LaLiga rights fee compensation talks to wait to end of season

LaLiga president Javier Tebas speaks to foreign press ahead of the 180th El Clasico (Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Javier Tebas, the president of LaLiga, has said that broadcasters of the top two divisions of Spanish football will have to wait until the end of season before talks are held about compensation claims brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tebas declined to rule out the possibility of reimbursing broadcasters in the future, but stressed that any conversations would have to wait until the season concludes in mid-July.

Tebas was speaking today (Thursday) at a virtual roundtable ahead of the 2019-20 LaLiga season resuming this evening after a three-month break due to the pandemic.

He said: “What broadcasters are asking at the moment are the damages that have been suffered because we’ve had a few months without activity.

“If we have to analyse any damages we will do it [at the end of the season], but we can’t do it until we finish the competition’s match days.”

Telco Telefónica is the dominant LaLiga rights-holder in the property’s domestic market, with production and rights agency Mediapro also holding several packages of rights as well as an international distribution deal.

Mediapro and Telefónica hold the domestic LaLiga rights until the end of the 2021-22 season. Telefónica holds the bulk of the rights worth €2.94bn ($3.35bn) over the contract’s lifespan, while Mediapro is paying around €480m for its rights over the same period.

LaLiga has a total of roughly 70 deals in place worldwide for the 2020-21 season onwards and the rights-holder and Mediapro have recently closed new deals in the Nordics and Balkans recently (SportBusiness Media analysis of deals in both markets can be found here).

Tebas remarked: “A lot of these contracts are going for several years. The tender we held ended on March 19 for Scandinavian and Balkan countries which saw an increase of 70 per cent.”

In February, LaLiga issued an invitation to tender for the top-tier LaLiga and second-tier LaLiga Smartbank covering 16 territories, including the Nordic region and the Balkans.

Tebas said that, were broadcast rights value to the league to reduce in coming years, it would not be down to the impact of Covid-19.

He said: “You have to be very cautious and you have to wait because we have never experienced anything like this in the world, the TV markets have never seen anything like this. We have a premium product which is sold all over the world but it is an extraordinary situation.

“Taking that into account, we’ll have to see what the effects are.”

LaLiga begins this evening with Sevilla v Real Betis. The rights-holder has introduced a host of new technological features such as an increased number of cameras and angles.