Movistar+ acquires Supercopa rights, DAZN seals domestic Copa del Rey deal

Pay-television broadcaster Movistar+ has acquired the exclusive rights to broadcast the Spanish Supercopa tournament through to 2022.

Movistar+, a subsidiary of Spanish telco Telefónica, was believed to be the only bidder and will now broadcast the 2020, 2021 and 2022 Supercopa tournaments from Saudi Arabia. The 2020 edition will involve a new format as Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia and Atlético Madrid compete between January 8 and 12.

News of the rights award coincides with the acquisition of sub-licensed Copa del Rey rights by DAZN in the subscription OTT platform’s first domestic football rights deal in Spain.

The Supercopa invitation to tender process was mired in controversy as several broadcasters ruled themselves out of the running. Mediapro announced that it would not be competing for the rights due to ethical concerns, while commercial broadcasters Atresmedia and Mediaset both saw little value to be gained from the property.

The main area of contention came after the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) signed a three-year hosting deal for the Supercopa with the Saudi Arabian Football Federation which is believed to be worth a total of around €120m ($133.1m).

The Supercopa tender followed closely behind the contentious award of the Copa del Rey’s domestic rights.

Production group and agency Mediapro threatened legal action after it claimed to have been overlooked by the RFEF in favour of awarding the rights to commercial broadcaster Mediaset.

The RFEF today announced a sub-licensing deal which will allow DAZN to show a minimum of 50 games per season broadcast on its Spanish platform, through to the end of the 2021-22 season. Of those 50, 15 games will be non-exclusive and broadcast on Mediaset, which had already been announced as the winner of the domestic rights.

DAZN had already acquired international rights to the Copa del Rey in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan.

The sale of the Copa del Rey domestic broadcast rights, along with “part” of the international rights, brought in a total of just under €80m ($88.2m) – or €26.7m per season – over the three-season cycle from 2019-20 to 2021-22.

The Copa del Rey tender was the first the RFEF had run for the tournament as a whole, having previously only marketed the rights for the tournament’s final. LaLiga, the governing body for the top two leagues of Spanish football, sold the rights to all the preceding rounds.

It was also a controversial one, as Mediapro walked away from the process, saying that it had bid €13.5m per season for the rights in Spain.

RFEF president Luis Rubiales has taken a strong stance on the sale of the RFEF’s media rights in recent months.

He heavily criticised Spanish public-service broadcaster RTVE when it pulled out of the race for the Supercopa rights, expressing its concern over Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.

The Supercopa has traditionally been played as a two-legged affair in August and has been broadcast by TVE. The CNMC, Spain’s competition watchdog, has claimed that the RFEF’s domestic and international Supercopa invitations to tender violate the 2015 Royal Decree which governs the sale of broadcast rights in Spain.

The broadcaster said at the time: “These humanitarian reasons make RTVE’s participation in this sporting event incompatible with its constitutional principles and with its repeated commitment to the promotion of women’s sport.”

The RFEF issued domestic and international tender documents with a deadline of 28 November for bids.