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Atresmedia and Mediaset ‘won’t pursue’ Supercopa rights

Spanish commercial duo Atresmedia and Mediaset are reported to be the latest broadcasters to shy away from a bid for domestic rights to the Supercopa, following the Spanish Football Federation’s (RFEF’s) decision to take the club competition to Saudi Arabia.

Atresmedia and Mediaset have both decided against bidding, according to Spanish newspaper El Español, believing that the competition is not a priority as the rights are considered unprofitable. Neither broadcaster has spoken publicly about its stance.

Public-service broadcaster RTVE has already stated it will not bid for the rights as to do so would be “incompatible” with its constitutional principles. RTVE, which operates the flagship TVE channels, cited human rights concerns as a factor in its decision, in particular the rights of women in Saudi Arabia.

On Monday, the RFEF announced a lucrative three-year hosting deal with the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, estimated to be worth €120m ($132m) over three years (from 2019-20 to 2021-22). Real Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Atlético Madrid will take part in the revamped event, which will reportedly take place from January 8-12 at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah.

The Supercopa has traditionally been played as a two-legged affair in August and has been broadcast by TVE.

The CNMC, Spain’s competition watchdog, has claimed that the RFEF’s domestic and international Supercopa invitations to tender violate the 2015 Royal Decree which governs the sale of broadcast rights in Spain.

Nevertheless, the RFEF this week issued the tender documents for the domestic and international rights sales processes. The RFEF has issued bid deadlines of November 28 for domestic and international broadcast rights to the Supercopa.

The invitation to tender documents were issued on Tuesday as two concurrent sales processes were launched in Europe and the rest of the world. Broadcast rights on offer cover the 2019-20 to 2021-22 period, matching the contract term in place with Saudi authorities.

On Friday, Mediaset was named as the winner of the domestic rights to the Copa del Rey as the RFEF announced domestic and international rights agreements that have so far raised nearly €80m ($86.9m) – or €26.7m per season – over the next three seasons.

The stance taken by Atresmedia, Mediaset and RTVE could leave subscription OTT platform DAZN and telecoms operator Telefónica as the only realistic contenders for the domestic rights.

Relations between the RFEF and Mediapro, another player in the Spanish broadcaster market, are particularly sour. The agency and production group is considering a legal bid for damages in the wake of the Copa del Rey rights sales process, from which Mediapro pulled out in protest after the second round.

Earlier this week, the CNMC fined Atresmedia and Mediaset a collective €77.1m for anti-competitive practices. The fines relate to the marketing of television advertising, with the regulator stating the two companies had developed a strategy through which they have secured a market share of over 85 per cent.

Atresmedia was fined €38.2m and Mediaset fined €38.9m.

Atresmedia and Mediaset have been given three months to modify their practices in this area.