On Thursday Spanish legislators approved a new law governing the sale of football television broadcasting rights that could open the door to a sea change in La Liga. Under the current arrangement, clubs are allowed to negotiate their own individual TV deals – a system that heavily favors Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The new deal was intended bring La Liga more in line with the other major European leagues like the English Premier League and Serie A. Once passed, the law will rectify the imbalances to how the TV money is distributed in Spain and should bring about more financial parity in the league.
Spanish sports ministry spokesman Miguel Cardenal described the deal as “a historic measure and one that was necessary for Spanish football.”
“The league will be more even,” said Cardenal to Madrid-based paper AS. “And there will be money going into amateur football, women’s football, Segunda B and other top-level athletes.”
Currently Barça and Real earn more than three times as much as other clubs in the top-flight through TV rights. However the new centralized system will regulate the way those rights are sold, preventing the “big two” from reaping such a lion’s share of the broadcast proceeds.
Under the new deal, 50 percent of the proceeds will be evenly distributed between all 20 teams in La Liga. The other half will be allocated according to league position over the last five seasons, social relevance and ability to generate broadcast revenue. Even under this new arrangement, Barça and Real are likely to receive more TV money than anyone else, due to their dominance on the pitch and global brand recognition.
However the deal will open the door for clubs like Atletico Madrid, Sevilla and Valencia to start chipping into Barça and Real’s financial dominance. As pointed out by Cardenal, Atletico won the La Liga title last year and yet generated less revenue than the team that finished bottom in the Barclays Premier League.
“You only have to look at the Premier League, where last season the bottom-placed club earned more than Atletico,” said the minister.
Meanwhile outfits lower down the table, the Elches, Almerias and Levantes of the world, will be given more of a fighting chance. If the law works as intended, it should transform La Liga into a more even, competitive and exciting league in years to come.
The new law, which has been in the works for several years, must still be approved by Spain’s parliament. However that’s considered a formality at this point as the law is not expected to meet with significant opposition. Once passed, the new legislation is set to take effect in 2016.