The Spanish topflight is set to receive a huge injection of cash via one of its overseas deals as it has sealed a mammoth broadcast deal with Disney-owned Bristol, Connecticut-headquartered American sports broadcaster ESPN.
Starting from the 2021-22 season, ESPN and ESPN+ will exclusively broadcast all LaLiga matches in the United States until the end of the 2028-29 season. Sportico values the entire deal at approximately US$175 million per season, making it the biggest American media rights deal for an overseas football tournament.
Talking about the deal, Javier Tebas, president of LaLiga, said:
“We are absolutely thrilled to bring La Liga to ESPN in the US. This is an historic eight-season agreement in US soccer broadcasting that speaks to the power of La Liga and its clubs in the largest media market in the world and will bring the world’s best soccer league to American screens in a more comprehensive and modern way than ever before.”
Burke Magnus, ESPN’s executive vice president for programming & original content, added:
“This agreement will bring the excitement, passion, iconic clubs and global superstars of LaLiga to US sports fans with unprecedented access and coverage.
“As the sport of soccer continues its ascendancy in the US market, we are incredibly excited to work with LaLiga to establish a deeper connection to American fans through our company’s industry-leading streaming platforms, television networks, and digital and social media assets.”
For the deal to commence from next season, LaLiga had to buy back its US rights from Qatar-based network BeIN Sports, who held the US media rights until the end of the 2023-24 season. However, BeIN continues as LaLiga’s broadcast partner in France, Australia, and the Middle East and North Africa.
Talking about the matter, Richard Verow, chief sports officer at BeIN Media Group, said:
“Like broadcasters all over the world, we are constantly assessing our rights portfolio across all our markets to ensure financial discipline, commercial and strategic sense, and – crucially – long term growth. This arrangement with La Liga in the US and Canada reflects that, sacrificing a short-term gain for long-term wins and sustainability in North America.
“Financial discipline has never been more important in the current context, where you have a ferociously competitive US market, coupled with constantly changing viewing habits, all complicated further by the pandemic and rampant piracy.”
As far as LaLiga’s broadcast in the Indian subcontinent is concerned, we’re yet to get an update. Facebook, who held the rights for LaLiga matches in the region since 2018, has already declared that it won’t be renewing its deal, leaving the door open for other broadcasters to come in.