RFEF goes to market in Europe with centralised Copa del Rey rights

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has launched an invitation to tender process for broadcast rights in most of Europe to the Copa del Rey domestic cup competition, offering centralised rights from the round of 32 onwards.

Rights in Europe (excluding Spain) are available for the next three seasons (2019-20 to 2021-22).

The move marks a departure from the RFEF’s previous strategy of selling international rights to just the Copa del Rey final, along with the Spanish Super Cup, the match that pits the reigning cup holders against the LaLiga champions.

Interested parties must lodge their bids by midday on October 1 and the RFEF intends to award the rights nine days later.

Referencing the move to sell centralised rights to Spain’s knockout clubs competition, the RFEF cites the 2015 Royal Decree, which governs sports broadcast rights sales in Spain.

Within the invitation to tender document, the RFEF says that it is “empowered to carry out the commercialisation of audiovisual rights in accordance with article 2 of Royal Decree Law 5/2015, which indicates that participation in an official professional football competition will necessarily entail the transfer of the powers to commercialise its rights held by the participating clubs to the organising entity (RFEF) to jointly commercialise said rights”.

B4 Capital, the London-based agency that is no longer operational, 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 Emanule Villari, B4’s former head of rights sales and acquisitions in Europe.

Rights have been split up into 29 country-specific and seven region-specific packages in the RFEF’s new invitation to tender. Reserve prices have been ascribed by the RFEF to the various packages.

The country-specific packages comprise: Austria, Belgium (including Luxembourg, non-exclusively), Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (including Luxembourg, non-exclusively), Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland (including Liechtenstein), Slovakia, Slovenia and the UK.

The regional packages are: the Baltic countries, Czech Republic/Slovakia, German-speaking countries, Greece/Cyprus, the Nordic territories, Romania/Hungary and UK/Ireland.
Betting video rights and in-flight/in-ship rights are not included in the rights on offer.

In terms of production arrangements, the RFEF has committed to ensuring that 33 games will be offered “with the highest level of production applied to these type of events.” The federation specifies that it “may receive technical assistance from a third party” in order to provide the necessary broadcast production standard. Broadcasters who go on to acquire the rights will be required to pay technical costs of €1,500 ($1,644) per game to receive the signal.

Participating Copa del Rey clubs will be able to broadcast delayed coverage of matches on their own channels one hour after the games finish.

The RFEF recently issued an invitation to tender for the broadcast rights in Spain to the Copa del Rey.