LaLiga president targets further engagement with OTT, digital platforms

LaLiga president Javier Tebas has said the organisation which oversees the top two divisions of Spanish club football needs to step up its engagement with OTT and other digital media platforms, adding it has received interest from the likes of streaming service Netflix and Japanese e-commerce firm Rakuten.

Tebas, speaking at the Nikkei Global Management Forum in Tokyo, said online broadcasting could help bridge the gap to the huge broadcast revenues generated by the English Premier League.

“We are living in a digital world,” Tebas said. “We need to try to adapt to this change. The soccer world needs to adapt to this change.”

He continued: “We need to consider (various) platforms. Netflix, Rakuten – many institutions and enterprises are interested (in securing broadcasting rights).” Tebas added that Japanese telecommunications and internet group SoftBank, internet company Amazon and social media firm Facebook are also possible business partners.

Tebas last month said LaLiga has delayed talks over its next set of international broadcast rights amid the uncertainty caused by Catalonia’s proposed split from Spain. Tebas has repeatedly declared his opposition to Catalonia’s drive for independence, previously stating a declaration of independence from Catalonia would result in the expulsion of Barcelona from LaLiga, along with fellow Catalan top-tier clubs Espanyol and Girona.

He told the Nikkei Global Management Forum: “The Catalans are Spanish, and so are the Basque people. We've had (the Catalan independence issue) before, but we decided to remain part of Spain. Once we have decided, we need to keep the rules and laws. LaLiga fans and Barcelona fans, please rest assured. Things will stay the same.”