Spanish Media Giants Reach Last-Minute Soccer TV Deal
In a country, where matches from the previous league season, the World Cup and the Euro Cups sit atop the all-time ratings table, the broadcast rights are a hot ticket.
MADRID - One day before the kick-off of the Spanish professional soccer league season Saturday, Spain's two media titans - Prisa and Mediapro - announced that they have reached an agreement on how to divvy up the coveted broadcast rights.
The pact was reached thanks to the "crucial involvement of the Secretary of State for Sports, Miguel Cardenal, to create a feasible model for the Spanish league and establish a stable normalized framework for soccer fans for the 2012/2013, 2013/14 and 2014/15 seasons," the two groups said in a statement Friday.
The two sides in the soccer-fanatic country have long argued about the rights - even when the other side had paid the agreed-upon amount. Both sides have previously sued one another for breaking an existing contract. Friday's announcement did not reveal any financial details, but reports spoke of a three-year deal.
Prisa's Canal Plus will hold exclusive pay TV rights for the best match of the week - meaning 28 games featuring Real Madrid, FC Barcelona or games between rival clubs - and another eight matches for its soccer-league themed channel Canal Plus Liga.
Mediapro will offer eight matches per week on its digital terrestrial channel GolT, with a game from Real Madrid or FC Barcelona and one of the two classics where the two team meet each season. Mediapro's free-to-air channel La Sexta will also offer a match on Monday nights.
The two sides are forced to renegotiate every year given a complicated original agreement several years ago.
In previous years, there were blackouts for the first few games of the season with fans frantically zapping around the dial to find the games after the match started - only to discover that they were either not aired or were on a pay channel they didn't subscribe to.
In Spain, matches from the previous league season, the World Cup and the Euro Cups sit atop the all-time ratings table, making the broadcast rights a particularly hot ticket.