The 2014-15 Spanish La Liga season enters its 35th round this weekend, with perennial rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona, as is often the case, fighting it out for another league title. Yet, new legislation governing La Liga television rights could well put an end to the financial imbalance that has all but guaranteed the dominance of the two giants.
Starting from 2016, Sports Ministry spokesman Miguel Cardenal announced on Thursday, La Liga clubs will no longer be allowed to negotiate individual television rights. Instead of that practise, the television rights to all La Liga matches will be auctioned collectively, with the bulk of the money distributed equally among the La Liga clubs. Under the current system, each La Liga club negotiates its own deal for La Liga matches, which enables the big clubs, Barcelona and Real Madrid, to take a disproportionately huge chunk of the pie and thus allows them to consistently beat their rivals to the best players.
Under the new deal, which took Spanish government intervention to pass, 90 percent of broadcast revenue will go to the La Liga clubs, while the other 10 percent will be shared by the second division, Segunda B, clubs.
According to BBC News, 50 percent of the La Liga portion will be shared equally between the 20 La Liga clubs, while the other half would be allotted according to other criteria, like performance and size. The new formula should address the sort of scenario that saw last year’s La Liga champions, Atletico Madrid take home less television revenue than the last placed club in England’s Premier League, Cardiff City.
The new legislation also brings La Liga in line with the other European leagues, like the Premier League in England, Germany’s Bundesliga, and Italy’s Serie A, that have long been collectively marketed, and will also affect television rights to the Copa del Rey and the Super Cup.
La Liga president Javier Tebas told reporters, according to World Soccer Talk described this decision as “historic.”
“A new La Liga is born, which will not stop moving towards equaling and bettering our competitors. This decision taken by the Spanish government is a historic step forward for Spanish football that will allow us to be more competitive both nationally and internationally”
According to Bleacher Report, though, La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid won’t be pleading poverty anytime soon. The new La Liga television deal also includes a clause that prevents them from earning less than they currently collect from their existing deals.
But the deal would still represent a big gain for the smaller La Liga clubs.
[Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images Sports]