LaLiga set to launch multi-sport OTT platform

LaLiga president Javier Tebas has said the organisation which oversees the top two divisions of Spanish club football will convert its LaLigaTV service into an OTT platform in August, with the new product to offer sports content aside from football.

Tebas made the announcement in a wide-ranging interview in today’s (Friday’s) edition of Spanish newspaper Expansión. The platform will be free to use, but will require registration to access. Tebas said content will include live and on-demand action from the top-tier LaLiga, as well as the second-tier Segunda División and other domestic sport in Spain.

“LaLiga will launch its own multi-sport internet television platform in August,” Tebas told Expansión.

“This is the best way to reach our fans directly. In addition to our own content, we will broadcast other sports whenever they have sufficient quality, which will be the key factor beyond the level of audience that each discipline can generate.”

Expansión said the OTT platform will fall under the wing of the LaLiga4Sports project, a digitally-focused initiative involving Spain’s 64 sports federations and the Spanish Paralympic Committee.

Tebas said LaLiga will not initially focus on monetising the service, with user registration instead seen as a key benefit. He added: “We want to optimise the data of our users, carry a good big data strategy, to improve the experience of the fans and predict their behaviour, know what they like or what they see.”

In November, Tebas said LaLiga expects to earn €2.3bn ($2.8bn) per year from its broadcast rights within three seasons. LaLiga currently generates around €1bn per season for its domestic rights, and a further €650m from the international market. Tebas said that new contracts should bring in around €1.3bn per season for domestic rights and €1bn for overseas, if negotiations progress smoothly.

LaLiga rights are currently being marketed in certain overseas markets and Tebas said a domestic tender for rights from the 2019-20 season will be launched between March and May “at the latest”.

Tebas also broached the subject of his future, amid reports linking him with a similar position at Italy’s Lega Serie A. LaLiga clubs this week approved a pay rise for Tebas amid reported interest in the executive from Lega Serie A.

Tebas has been widely linked to a senior role at Serie A in the wake of the league’s new domestic rights deal with Spanish agency Mediapro. Lega Serie A, the organising body of the top division of Italian club football, last week accepted an offer for its domestic broadcast rights from Mediapro worth €1,050,001,000 per season, exceeding the minimum revenue target of €1.05bn that had been set.

The Lega will now take the offer, for the three seasons from 2018-19 to 2020-21, to the Italian antitrust authority before it can proceed with officially assigning the rights. However, the organisation’s interest in Tebas has been widely reported and LaLiga has sought to lock down its most senior executive.

LaLiga clubs this week approved a contract worth a basic €1.2m per annum, plus a further €250,000 in bonuses. The deal is also said to include a non-competition clause should Tebas choose to leave LaLiga.

Tebas told Expansión: “I want to be in Spain, but there are many factors to consider when you receive an offer. I am very flattered that they look at the CEO of the Spanish employers. Italy wants to go to being an industry, as has happened in LaLiga, where we have enhanced our professionalisation from 30 employees to 300.”