LaLiga seeking long-term deal after securing ITV stop-gap

Spain’s LaLiga has secured a short-term deal in the UK with commercial broadcaster ITV, whilst it continues its search for a longer-term deal.

The new deal will allow ITV to broadcast one match from the next three match-weeks before the league pauses for the international break. The time will allow LaLiga and the Mediapro agency, its international rights-holder, to agree a long-term deal.

LaLiga launched a tender for rights in the UK last month, however the tender was cancelled after “no satisfactory bids were received”. Since the withdrawal of the tender, the league has been in private negotiations with broadcasters.

It is thought that several parties are still interested in acquiring the rights, including pay-television broadcaster Premier Sports and OTT platform Eleven Sports. It is feasible that ITV could agree its own deal on a long-term basis.

LaLiga rights for the upcoming season were initially acquired by Eleven in its three-season deal, from 2018-19 to 2020-21, however the company ran into problems when it was unable to secure carriage agreements with major pay-television operators.

Eleven eventually renegotiated its deal with LaLiga, retaining rights to all 10 live matches per match-week and highlights for just the 2018-19 season, but losing its exclusivity. LaLiga sold on rights to Premier Sports and ITV in February for the the remainder of the season. Eleven is now no longer accepting subscriptions for its service in the UK.

Pay-television broadcaster Sky had previously been showing LaLiga for 20 years, with its most recent deal running from 2015-16 to 2017-18.

ITV will broadcast the rights on its ITV4 channel, as it did last season where it understood to have had audiences of as many as 400,000 for its LaLiga coverage. It will be showing Barcelona’s first two matches of the season, and Real Madrid’s visit to Villarreal in the third match-week.