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DAZN joins forces with Mediaset in latest round of Copa del Rey bidding

OTT sports streaming service DAZN has joined Mediaset’s bid for the three-season cycle for Spanish domestic knockout competition, the Copa del Rey, it has been reported.

Is it claimed that the DAZN/Mediaset joint-venture is up against another alliance formed of Telefónica-owned telco Movistar and public-service broadcaster TVE. The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) recently initiated a third round of bidding for the domestic rights during the 2019-20 to 2021-22 cycle.

DAZN launched in Spain earlier this year and sources told SportBusiness that the Copa del Rey is being viewed an ideal opportunity for the platform to break into football properties in Spain.

Luis Rubiales, the outspoken RFEF president, has claimed that the rights fees generated by the process will exceed those previously raised for the tournament by LaLiga, which governs the top two leagues of Spanish professional football. The RFEF previously only marketed rights to the final as LaLiga sold the bulk of the competition. The 2019-22 cycle marks the first time that the RFEF has sold the rights as a whole package.

Rubiales was quoted by the Europa Press news agency as saying that he estimates LaLiga to have brought in between €20m ($22.2m) and €30m per season for the Copa del Rey rights.

Spanish agency and production group Mediapro pulled out of the race for the rights last month, criticising the RFEF for failing to “grant these rights to the best offer presented in the previous process”.

Mediapro said that it had bid an average of €13.5m per season for the rights, or a total of €40.5m.

Mediapro held the rights in the 2016-19 cycle for the remainder of competition, which it acquired from the then rights-holder LaLiga. Mediapro had initially been excluded from last year’s bidding process for the Copa del Rey final before a judge ruled it was unlawful.

The RFEF previously only marketed rights to the final of the Copa del Rey, which it sold to TVE in separate deals over the last two seasons. The 2017 final rights were sold to Mediaset through a wider deal which incorporated rights to the Supercopa and Spanish national team friendlies.

The Copa del Rey’s inventory would give the successful bidder the exclusive live rights to up to 117 matches during the main competition’s six qualifying rounds and the final, with the successful bidder required to broadcast at least 65 matches per season. The semi-finals and final are required to be broadcast free-to-air and in HD quality.

The RFEF has stated that it will be responsible for producing all matches, although the successful bidder will bear the costs, which are expected to range from €12,000-€170,000.