Canal Plus chief wants free-to-air Liga broadcasts to end

Alex Martinez Roig, the head of content at Spanish pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus, called for the country’s government to end a long-running arrangement under which one football match per week from the country’s top-tier football league, La Liga, is shown live on free-to-air television.

Commercial broadcaster La Sexta broadcasts one primetime Liga game per week on Saturdays in a deal that will expire this June.

“It [the free-to-air arrangement] is an anachronism and it makes little sense to maintain it,” Roig told the AcademiaTV magazine. “Our market is heavily influenced by political decisions and this law… has impeded its growth.”

Roig said the arrangement, which dates back to 1997, was a key reason for pay-television’s relatively low penetration in Spain in comparison with other countries.

He added that football had been an “engine that has driven pay-television in other countries.”