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RFEF announces €80m Copa del Rey domestic and international rights deals

The sale of the Copa del Rey domestic broadcast rights, along with “part” of the international rights, has brought in a total of around €80m ($88.2m) over the three-season cycle from 2019-20 to 2021-22, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) announced today.

Mediaset, the free-to-air commercial broadcaster, has been awarded the rights in Spain for the next three seasons.

The RFEF said that the rights have also been awarded in “part of Europe” and “part of the rest of the world” over the same period. The identities of the rights buyers internationally were not revealed.

In announcing the award of the rights, the RFEF said that the figures “represent the best results in the history of marketing broadcast rights” to the Copa del Rey. The €80m total would represent a combined fee of €26.7m per season for the domestic and international rights.

The federation added that it “hopes to exceed” a total of €100m over three years once the remaining rights in Europe and the rest of the world are sold.

Mediapro, the agency and production group, last month withdrew from the rights auction. Given the loss of Mediapro as a bidder for not only the domestic but also the international rights, the RFEF is likely to have now chosen the best bids from broadcasters in certain international markets.

It was recently reported that Mediaset had teamed up with DAZN, the over-the-top subscription platform active in Spain and several international markets, to bid for the domestic rights as the RFEF initiated a third round of bidding.

In September, the RFEF issued invitations to tender in the European Union and the rest of the world. The domestic association is being advised on the international rights sales process by the Sportradar agency.

Luis Rubiales, the controversial and outspoken RFEF president, recently claimed that rights fees generated would exceed those previously raised for the tournament by LaLiga, which governs the top two leagues of Spanish professional football. The RFEF previously only marketed rights to the final as LaLiga sold the bulk of the competition. The 2019-22 cycle marks the first time that the RFEF has sold the rights as a whole package.

Upon pulling out of the race for the rights, Mediapro criticised the RFEF for failing to “grant these rights to the best offer presented in the previous process”. Mediapro said that it had bid an average of €13.5m per season for the rights, or a total of €40.5m.

The RFEF previously only marketed rights to the final of the Copa del Rey, which it sold to public broadcaster TVE in separate deals over the last two seasons. The 2017 final rights were sold to Mediaset through a wider deal which incorporated rights to the Supercopa and Spanish national team friendlies.

Mediapro held the rights in the 2016-19 cycle for the remainder of competition, which it acquired from the then rights-holder, LaLiga. Mediapro had initially been excluded from last year’s bidding process for the Copa del Rey final before a judge ruled it was unlawful.

It was recently reported in Spain that the DAZN-Mediaset alliance was up against a joint bid formed of Telefónica-owned telco Movistar and TVE.

The Copa del Rey’s centralised inventory would afford successful bidders the exclusive live rights to up to 117 matches during the main competition’s six qualifying rounds and the final, with the successful bidder required to broadcast at least 65 matches per season. The semi-finals and final are required to be broadcast free-to-air and in HD quality.

The B4 Capital agency previously held the international rights to the Copa del Rey final (and Spanish Super Cup) from 2014-15 to 2017-18.

In May, the RFEF invited bids for the European broadcast rights to the 2018-19 Copa del Rey final, working in an advisory capacity on the rights auction with the Sportradar agency and For Media Sports Management, the Dubai-based consultancy headed by Emanuele Villari, B4’s former head of rights sales and acquisitions in Europe.