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Second round of bidding in Copa del Rey domestic rights auction

Spanish broadcasters have been asked to submit their second-round offers for rights to the Copa del Rey tournament during the 2019-20 to 2021-22 cycle.

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) began the invitation to tender process at the end of August but first-round bids lodged at the start of this month are reported to have been beneath the national association’s asking price.

First-round bids were received from the Mediapro agency, commercial broadcaster Mediaset and an alliance between public broadcaster TVE and telecoms operator Telefónica, according to Spain’s Palco23.com.

The second-round offers must be submitted by the end of the day on Friday (October 10) with the RFEF reported to be targeting as much as €45m ($48.7m) per year.

The RFEF, under the leadership of outspoken president Luis Rubiales, had included criteria in the initial invitation to tender document that appeared to preclude Mediapro from bidding. However, following analysis by the RFEF’s evaluation commission, the way is now apparently open for the agency to bid for the rights.

The inventory comprised exclusive live rights to up to 117 matches covering the main competition’s six qualifying rounds and the final. The successful bidder must broadcast at least 65 matches each season. The semi-finals and final are required to be broadcast free-to-air and in HD quality.

Last month, the Spanish competition regulator (CNMC) called on the RFEF to review several aspects of its invitation to tender process.

Upon launching the tender process, the RFEF specified that it would be responsible for producing all matches, although the successful bidder would bear the costs, which vary from as low as €12,000 per match for the lowest profile matches to as high as €170,000 for the final.

The RFEF previously only marketed the broadcast rights to the Copa Del Rey final, which it sold to TVE in separate deals over the last two seasons. It sold the rights to the 2017 final to Mediaset as part of a wider deal including rights to the Supercopa and friendly matches of the Spanish national team.

Mediapro held the rights in the 2016-19 cycle to the remainder of competition, which it acquired from the then rights-holder LaLiga, the body that governs the top two tiers of Spanish league football. RFEF initially excluded Mediapro from last year’s bidding process for the Copa Del Rey final, before a judge ruled the exclusion unlawful.