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Spanish TV soccer rights to be pooled under new rules

30 April 2015, 19:35

Madrid - Spain is set to approve new rules under which rights to show Spanish soccer on television will be pooled and sold collectively, a source familiar with the planned measures said.

This would end the current system in which rights are sold by individual clubs and would potentially pave the way for a sharp price increase.

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The current system favours big teams such as Real Madrid, the world's wealthiest club by income, and rivals Barcelona.

Smaller teams, especially those with big tax bills to pay, have for years called for rights to be pooled to help them make ends meet and recently had threatened to strike over the issue.

La Liga, where the broadcast rights for most individual clubs have been bought by privately owned Mediapro, is the only top European league in which clubs negotiate their own TV contracts.

"Spain's cabinet meeting will this afternoon study a new decree for the joint sale of football rights," a source familiar with the planned measures said.

Analysts calculate that clubs will collectively obtain 1 billion euros ($1.11 billion) per season, versus around 700 million euros currently.

The figure is a far cry from the 1.7 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) that English Premier League clubs will net per season from broadcasters Sky and BT under a new contract running between 2016 and 2019.

In Spain those likely to buy the rights are telecoms giant Telefonica or Mediapro, which has its own pay-TV channel GolTV and currently has the rights to many club games, including those of Real Madrid.

Telefonica has reached an agreement with Barcelona to pay 140 million euros for its broadcast rights for next season. The new system for selling rights expected to be approved later on Thursday is not expected to come into force until the 2016-2017 season.

Spain's dominant telecoms provider is betting on TV content to complete its mobile and broadband services offer and is raising prices to offset the hefty investment outlay. In Britain, former state telecoms company BT has also spent heavily on sports rights.

- Reuters


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