Spain’s professional league (La Liga) is planning to offer international broadcasters the rights to show matches next season but the package will not include champions Barcelona and three other clubs.
La Liga has 38 of the 42 professional clubs in Spain’s top two divisions on board and has appointed Spanish broadcaster Mediapro as its agent to negotiate with interested parties but Barca, along with Espanyol, Celta Vigo and Real Sociedad, will not be included.
Barca, the European champions, agreed in February to sell the rights to screen their league games next season to Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica, ending a long-standing collaboration with Mediapro.
Espanyol, Celta Vigo and Real Sociedad also had deals with Telefonica and would not be included in the Mediapro package either, a spokesman confirmed on Wednesday.
Spanish media have reported that Real Madrid have sold the international rights for their games next season to Microsoft.
However, a Microsoft spokesman told Reuters on Wednesday that was not the case and their technology agreement with Real did not include audiovisual rights.
Real did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
LaLiga’s effort to centralise commercialisation of international TV rights next season is a first step towards the fully collective system of bargaining mandated in a government law approved in cabinet at the end of April.
The system is due to take full effect from the 2016-17 campaign and would end the current structure under which rights are sold by individual clubs, potentially paving the way for a sharp price increase.
However, attempting to market matches to international broadcasters without Barca, and their star players like Lionel Messi and Neymar, would lead to a reduced pot of revenue for the remaining 38 clubs to share.
Companies wishing to broadcast all matches next term will have to agree one deal with Mediapro/LaLiga and negotiate for the remaining matches with Telefonica.
“In the event that LaLiga does not hold all the audiovisual rights for the 2015-16 season, the amount due to the clubs that it does have the rights for will be negotiated,” the league said in a statement published late on Monday.
La Liga president Javier Tebas said last week he hoped agreement could be reached with Barca and the other three clubs “in coming years”.