Government to push through Spanish football’s switch to collective rights model

Spain’s Secretary of State for Sport, Miguel Cardenal, has announced a new law will be introduced that will obligate clubs to switch to a collective model for the sale of broadcast rights.

Cardenal said the law is expected to be presented towards the end of this year and would end the current practice of teams negotiating deals on an individual basis. “It’s an extremely important issue because it’s the main source of funding (for the clubs),” Cardenal told Spanish radio station Cope. “The idea is that the new law will regulate the collective sale (of TV rights) and that they will be sold in a single package.” Speaking at the Soccerex European Forum last week, Spanish Football League (LFP) chief executive Francisco Roca stated his belief the domestic game will switch to a collective broadcast rights model within the next three years.

The issue of Barcelona and Real Madrid’s financial dominance has been a long-running concern amongst their Spanish rivals. The Primera Division clubs’ broadcast revenues are expected to reach Eur650 million for the current season and Spain’s big two account for nearly half that figure alone. The Primera Division stands apart from its major European rivals in utilising a team-by-team, rather than collective bargaining process. The disparity in TV revenues generated by Barcelona and Real Madrid, when compared to the rest of the league, is one of the key reasons cited for the current competitive gulf that exists in the Primera Division.

Roca said the LFP is making progress towards its goal of collective rights selling, but seven out of the 42 clubs across the Primera and Segunda Divisions are still yet to agree terms over the more equitable distribution of broadcast revenues. The disparity was illustrated as it was revealed that Real Madrid made over Eur140 million from television income in 2011-12, while 17th-placed Granada earned around Eur12 million. By contrast, English Premier League champion Manchester City earned £60 million through TV, while relegated Blackburn Rovers and Wolverhampton Wanderers made £40 million. Cardenal said it would be up to the clubs themselves to decide how the money is redistributed under a collective deal, although he added that “it would be natural to expect the gap between those who get the most and those who get the least to narrow”.