Mediapro chief executive Jaume Roures has warned that LaLiga could lose 30 per cent of its media-rights income if legislation is introduced that limits Spanish football matches to weekends.
Roures’ forecast was given at a Spanish Commercial Court hearing in Madrid earlier this week, as LaLiga battles against the Spanish football federation (RFEF)’s efforts to ban Monday and Friday fixtures. The RFEF’s announcement came after LaLiga had already announced the fixtures for the 2019-20 season.
The RFEF claims the change would improve conditions for LaLiga fans in Spain, who it argues do not want games played on those two days. It is thought the RFEF demanded a payment of €30m from LaLiga for the rights to control over scheduling and the setting of fixtures.
Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that Roures, acting as a witness for LaLiga, claimed that as much as €2.1bn ($2.4bn) could be wiped off the value of LaLiga’s global media-rights value due to lost viewers in territories outside of Spain if the RFEF’s efforts are successful.
Roures reportedly cited the Middle East and North Africa as a region that benefits directly from Friday matches, given the region’s working week runs Sunday-Thursday.
Executives at Telefónica-owned Spanish pay-television broadcaster Movistar Plus also criticised the proposal, focusing on the the complications created by all games being played at weekends, including overlapping matches creating the need for more resource and simultaneous signals.
LaLiga claims that its right to set the match schedule is protected by a 2015 Spanish Royal Decree which asserts an employer’s right to scheduling control, while the RFEF has the final say over when matches are played within that schedule.
LaLiga presented its schedule to the RFEF earlier this summer, including slots for matches to be played on Mondays and Fridays, only for the governing body to veto the possibility of matches being played on those two days.
The 2019-20 LaLiga season is scheduled to kick off on Friday, August 16 when Athletic Bilbao play Barcelona. A resolution in the case is likely to be reached before the end of Monday, August 12.