Spain’s La Liga Set to Entice Amazon, Others With Novel Tender

Spain’s elite soccer league La Liga is modifying the tender for its domestic broadcast rights auction to entice new entrants and prevent a decline in much-needed revenue, according to a person familiar with the plan.

La Liga is set to introduce a package of one or two matchweeks like the 20-game deal bought by Amazon.com Inc. in the U.K., said the person, who asked not to be identified because the plan is confidential. The tender will introduce a variety of new packages designed to allow new broadcasters to enter the Spanish market, which is currently worth 1.14 billion euros ($1.4 billion), the person said. La Liga President Javier Tebas has previously hinted that the process would be disruptive.

Since buying into Premier League broadcasting in December 2019, Amazon has acquired elite soccer rights in Italy, renewed its U.K. package for three years and last week bought 80% of games in France’s Ligue 1. Amazon, which declined to comment, doesn’t have live Spanish sports programming, though it’s built a library of Spanish sports documentary films, including a series on the history of Real Madrid.

“A 20-game package or so would be tailor-made for Amazon,” said Minal Modha, a consumer analyst at Ampere Analysis, a London-based media consultancy. “But it might even appeal to other OTT broadcasters like Discovery+ who would want to give it a shout. Something like this is a perfect way of testing out a product for new platforms who are just starting to buy sports rights.”

La Liga’s determination to attract new entrants to its auction, which is expected to happen in September, comes as the main domestic buyer of soccer rights, Telefonica SA, is demanding lower prices.

“In the past auction, we managed to have a deflationary outcome -- it would be great to do it again,” Telefonica Chief Financial Officer Laura Abasolo said in an interview with Bloomberg TV last month.

La Liga’s process is the last of the big five soccer rights auctions in Europe. Italy, where DAZN Group Ltd. won the majority of rights for the first time, saw a slight dip in revenue. This was also the case in Germany. In France, revenue dropped after Mediapro pulled out, and Amazon came in with a lower bid. The Premier League, which is the richest in terms of broadcast revenue, rolled over its package for a further three years on the same financial terms.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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