LaLiga offers free-to-air, OTT packages in UK & Ireland 2019-22 tender

Spanish football’s LaLiga launched on Wednesday a tender for rights in the UK and Ireland to the Primera División and the six-match promotion playoffs for 2019-20 to 2021-22, which includes free-to-air and OTT packages.

The OTT and free-to-air offers (packages 5 and 6 respectively in the tender) are part of a six-package three-season tender that leaves the door open to a continuation of the multi-broadcaster model the league has pursued in the UK and Ireland since the start of this year.

LaLiga has set a deadline of July 25 for interested parties to submit bids.

FTA details

The free-to-air package includes rights to one second-pick match per match week plus the obligation to show a weekly highlights programme covering all 10 matches per match week.

The successful free-to-air bidder will have the right to show 20 matches per season that involve at most one top-five LaLiga club as ranked by Uefa on the August 1 of the year each season starts. The tender contains further stipulations on how these 20 matches can be shown: the successful bidder will broadcast a maximum of ten during the first half of the season and a maximum of ten in the second half.

Additionally, the broadcaster may not show more than four matches per season of any of the top-five ranked LaLiga clubs and can only broadcast a maximum of two home matches and a maximum of two away matches for these clubs.

Non-complementary packages

But the tender also includes a more traditional ‘winner-takes-all’ offer (Package 1) that gives the successful bidder exclusive pay-television and/or free-to-air rights across all distribution platforms. A successful placing of package 1 extinguishes all the other packages.

The remaining three lots offer a pay-television broadcaster varying degrees of platform-dependent exclusivity: package 2 comprises non-exclusive rights as against the OTT offer; package 3 comprises exclusive rights as against the free-to-air offer; and package 4 comprises non-exclusive rights against both the OTT and free-to-air offers.

However, LaLiga will award only one package out of packages 2, 3 and 4 to a single successful bidder as these three packages do not complement each other.

Packages 1-5 also include rights to magazine and highlights shows, with the option to purchase online clip rights.

The Mediapro agency sells LaLiga international rights on behalf of the league.

Multiple broadcasters

LaLiga live rights in the UK and Ireland were held by three broadcasters in the second half of the 2018-19 season: Premier Sports (non-exclusive pay-television rights); Eleven Sports (non-exclusive OTT rights); and ITV (exclusive free-to-air rights).

Eleven initially agreed a three-season deal, from 2018-19 to 2020-21, with LaLiga last year, replacing the rights-holder’s previous long-term partner, pay-television broadcaster Sky.

But Eleven held contract renegotiations with LaLiga in December amid financial difficulties in its UK business.