La Sexta rules out bid to retain free-to-air Liga rights

José Miguel Contreras, the chief executive of Spanish commercial broadcaster La Sexta, has ruled out a bid to retain domestic rights for the weekly free-to-air match from the Spanish football league, La Liga.

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

Mediaset Spain, the owner of Spanish commercial channels Telecinco and Cuatro, and commercial broadcaster Antena 3, which announced a merger with La Sexta earlier this year, are the only two remaining potential bidders for the new cycle of free-to-air rights, according to the ADSL Zone news website.

Since 1997, Spanish law has required that one match per week from the league be shown free-to-air. Víctor Calvo-Sotelo, Spain’s secretary of state for telecommunications and information, told the Europa Press news agency this week that he was unaware of the government planning any changes to the legislation. Several companies, including pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus and the Mediapro agency, have criticised the legislation, which is regarded as reducing the value of the league’s pay-television rights.