RFEF extends Copa del Rey rights deadline, seeks better bids

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has further extended the deadline for bids for rights to the Copa del Rey domestic club football competition during the 2019-20 to 2021-22 cycle, after stating that the initial offers did not meet the reserve price specified in the tender document.

Earlier this month, the RFEF launched new rounds of bidding for the rights with a deadline having been set for October 25. The same deadline was set for new bids in the international rights sales process.

However, in a statement reported by Spanish newspaper Sport, the RFEF said on Saturday: “With any offer having not reached the reserve price, the indicated entities have been granted a period that will end at 12:00 on Thursday, October 31, 2019, to present a new round of offers.”

The Mediapro agency last week pulled out of the race for rights to the Copa del Rey, leaving commercial broadcaster Mediaset and an alliance between public-service broadcaster TVE and telecoms operator Telefónica as the two remaining candidates.

Mediapro cited the RFEF’s asking price of €45m ($49.9m) per year in a statement explaining its decision. The domestic rights inventory comprised 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.

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 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, which governs the top two tiers of the Spanish game. Mediapro had initially been excluded from last year’s bidding process for the Copa del Rey final before a judge ruled it was unlawful.