Prisa and Mediapro strike Liga rights peace deal

The Mediapro agency has agreed a deal with pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus, owned by Prisa, to share coverage of the Spanish Liga, the top division of football in the country, for three seasons, from 2012-13 to 2014-15.

Canal Plus will show exclusively 28 games involving Real Madrid or Barcelona per season, including the first-choice match pick of the day, on its Canal Plus One channel. It will show the other eight matches on its Canal Plus Liga channel. The channels will each show one of the two ‘Clásico’ games between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Mediapro’s Gol TV pay-television channel will show eight Liga games every week, including at least one Real Madrid or Barcelona game, plus one ‘Clásico’ game per year.

Commercial broadcaster La Sexta, owned by the Mediapro agency, will continue to broadcast one game per week and a highlights programme on its free-to-air television channel. Other free-to-air deals are understood to still be under negotiation.

The first free-to-air match of the season, Real Zaragoza v Real Valladolid, is scheduled for Monday evening, but according to the Europa Press agency, the weekly free-to-air game could be shifted to Friday evenings which would mean all 10 matches per week kick off at different times which was part of the league’s original philosophy.

Mediapro hold the worldwide rights to the league and will be responsible for production of Liga coverage across all broadcasters.

Under the deal that was reached late on Thursday evening, Canal Plus can also show the best game per match day from the Liga Adelante, the second tier of football in the country. The other second-tier matches will be shown on regional television channels.

The deal ends a dispute between Prisa and Mediapro that had threatened the start of the Liga season this weekend. Thirteen clubs warned that they would boycott the opening round of fixtures unless there was a resolution between the two parties, after Prisa accused Mediapro of launching an “illegal” sales process for rights to Liga games last month.

That threat relented after an emergency meeting between the clubs and Liga officials on Tuesday, largely due to the presence of Michael Cardinal, Spain’s secretary of state for sport, who pledged to be closely involved in talks for a peace deal.