LaLiga closes long-term Brazilian rights renewal with Disney

LaLiga, the governing body of Spain’s highest two domestic football divisions, has agreed a long-term rights renewal with the Disney Group in Brazil.

Disney will be now exploit the rights on its ESPN and Fox Sports channels. This follows on directly from the previous five-season deal which expired at the end of last season, having kicked off in the 2015-16 season.

The new agreement will run for six seasons from 2020-21 to 2025-26, and is set against a wider deal in the Latin American region.

The new contract was agreed ahead of the start of the 2020-21 LaLiga season on Saturday (September 12).

The rights had been shared between ESPN and Fox Sports through sublicensing deals during the previous cycle, but they will now be shared following Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox, Fox Sports’ parent company, for $71.3bn (€60.2m) in 2018.

Disney agreed to merge both Brazilian arms of ESPN and Fox Sports to avoid running foul of the Administrative Council for Economic Defence (Cade).

As such, sources indicated to SportBusiness that top executives at Mediapro, the agency tasked with negotiating Laliga’s international rights deals, were treating the renewal as a priority.

The Disney renewal now brings an end to any doubts over LaLiga’s future in Brazil. The deal follows on from a similar agreement reached by the Italian Serie A and the IMG agency to sell its rights to commercial and free-to-air broadcaster Band last week.

Cade had previously ruled that Disney would need to divest its Fox Sports business, but allowed the merger proposal with a handful of provisions.

Brazil is one of the rights-holder’s key international markets driven in large part by the high number of Brazilian players that traditionally found success in Spain.