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FREE | Spain market report, 2019

In the latest interactive monthly data report, SportBusiness Media analyses the media-rights landscape in Spain.

Further detail on the deals covered in this interactive data report is available with our Rights Tracker tool – click here for more information.

Fastest-growing market

In 2019, Spain became the fifth-largest media-rights market in the world, thanks to the start of several significant property-rights cycles. According to the 2019 SportBusiness Consulting Global Report, media rights in Spain generated about $2.05bn (€1.8bn) in 2019, accounting for 4 per cent of the total global sports-rights market.

From 2015 to 2019 the Spanish media-rights market grew by 9.4 per cent, registering an increase of about 13.8 per cent just in 2018. Among the top 10 global markets, Spain is the fastest-growing media-rights market, with a growth forecast of 9.6-per-cent CAGR to 2022.

Spain’s LaLiga, the country’s top-tier football league, dominates the country’s media-rights landscape with about 60-per-cent market share.

The 20-per-cent increase in the value of LaLiga’s domestic rights in the new cycle impacted the whole Spanish media-rights market in 2019 and helped to sustain market growth.

Rights values have also been boosted by the arrival of streaming platform DAZN, which brought additional competition to an already crowded market. DAZN launched in the country in February 2019, making the market significantly more competitive with telco Telefónica, pay-television broadcaster beIN and the Mediapro agency facing far stronger competition for some of the top rights. Telefónica consolidated its position as the market leader in 2019, with a total of 12 properties secured, including the top three properties within the market: LaLiga, Uefa’s club competitions and Formula 1.

Top properties

Telefónica supplanted beIN as LaLiga’s primary live rights partner for the 2019-22 cycle, while Mediapro acquired the remaining packages within the domestic market. This represents the second cycle in which Spanish clubs have sold their rights collectively, as prior to 2015-16 each club sold its own rights individually.

Telefónica also holds rights to the Uefa Champions League and Uefa Europa League. Originally, Mediapro and beIN Sports bought the 2018-21 Uefa club competition rights together in a joint venture. However, they sold them shortly after to Telefónica. The Mediapro-beIN deal represented an increase of about 43 per cent on the previous 2015-2018 cycle.

The Formula 1 motorsport series rights in the country are also held by Telefónica in a three-year deal, from 2018 to 2020. Given the lack of competition for the rights in the market, the telco agreed to pay a fee similar to what it paid for the previous two-year deal covering 2016 and 2017, although it obtained more exclusive rights.

In November 2018, DAZN acquired the exclusive pay-television rights to the fourth-most valuable property in the market: the MotoGP World Championship. The four-year deal from 2019 to 2022 represented a 10-per-cent increase on the previous deal with Telefónica, making Spain the most valuable market for MotoGP.

Click on each property logo to filter historical media-rights value information.

DAZN steps up

The MotoGP World Championship was DAZN’s first rights acquisition in Spain, and the OTT service has since picked up rights to several sports properties.

In November 2018, it acquired exclusive rights to the English Premier League. The new deal was a 64-per-cent increase in value on the league’s previous deal with Telefónica and represented the first battle for rights in the country between the two broadcasters.

DAZN also acquired rights to Euroleague Basketball in a four-season deal, from 2019-20 to 2022-23. This marks a rise of about 50 per cent on the amount Telefónica paid for a one-season extension of its deal to cover 2018-19.

In December 2019, DAZN agreed a sublicensing deal with commercial broadcaster Mediaset to show a minimum of 50 matches per season of domestic knock-out football competition the Copa del Rey through to the end of the 2021-22 season.

Click on each property logo to filter historical media-rights value information.

The introduction of DAZN into the Spanish market has helped rights-holders, which were struggling in negotiations with Telefónica, due in part to not having alternative options.

DAZN also agreed a carriage deal in the Spanish market with US media company Discovery for its international sports broadcaster Eurosport, excluding the Eurosport Player OTT service.

Strategy changes

The consolidation of Telefónica and the rise of DAZN came at the expense of some of the other key broadcasters in the Spanish market such as Mediapro and beIN Sports.

BeIN was one of the players most affected. The broadcaster held rights to LaLiga and Uefa’s Europa League in both rights-holders’ previous cycles, from 2015-16 to 2017-18, but no longer does so.

Mediapro also has altered its recent strategy, shifting its focus more to international markets. It continues to hold key properties in Spain such as LaLiga and the Fifa World Cup, but decided to invest more on expanding into other markets such as France and Italy.

The agency secured domestic rights to the French Ligue 1 until 2024 and tried to acquire domestic rights to the Italian Serie A until 2021, before seeing the offer rejected by Lega Serie A.

Growing free-to-air market

The market for free-to-air rights in Spain has grown in the past few years, with commercial broadcaster Mediaset and public-service broadcaster RTVE battling for key properties.

Mediaset retained rights to the upcoming 2020 Uefa European Championship in a deal that also included third-party European qualifiers and Nations League rights. This represented an increase of about 77 per cent on its deal for the 2016 edition held in France.

In November 2019, Mediaset acquired rights to the Copa del Rey, in a three-year deal, from 2019-20 to 2021-22. Mediaset’s offer for the whole competition represents a 46.3-per-cent increase year-on-year. The 2019-22 cycle marked the first time the Spanish Football federation (RFEF) had sold the rights to the entire competition. Previously the RFEF only sold rights to the competition’s final, while LaLiga sold the rights to all phases preceding the final.

Mediaset also retained rights to International Basketball Federation (Fiba) events in a five-year deal, from 2017 to 2021.

RTVE holds rights to multiple sports properties in Spain, varying from athletics to tennis. Its most important deal is with Uefa for its European Qualifiers and Nations League.

The public broadcaster acquired rights to show 40 Spain national team European Qualifiers and Nations League matches, from 2018-29 to 2021-22. A direct comparison to the previous cycle is not possible for two reasons. First, the Nations League is a new competition. Second, Spanish friendly matches were previously sold as part of a wider package of football rights.

Most recent

DAZN’s determination to add domestic football to its portfolio of rights in Spain led the OTT platform to pay Mediaset a Copa del Rey sublicensing fee that covers entirely what the latter spent on the rights just three months ago.

Pay-television broadcaster Sky Italia has paid a 50-per-cent uplift to agree a three-year extension of its rights to ATP Masters 1000 events and the end-of-season ATP Finals.

Uefa’s Europa League revenue in France will fall in the 2021-24 cycle given limited interest in the property in the wake of the fierce contest for rights to the top-tier Champions League.

StarTimes, the Chinese-owned African pay-television broadcaster, was able to exploit regulatory pressure facing rival broadcaster SuperSport and secure exclusive rights to the English FA Cup and Community Shield at a reduced fee.