Del Nido, TV Revenue Sharing, and La Liga

[Welcome, Google searcher! If you’re here looking for English-language coverage of the ongoing debate about TV Revenue Sharing (or the lack thereof) in La Liga, you’ve come to the right place. In addition to this article, you might find this and this and this (and the comments sections) very useful, as well as the orange and white graphic below on the bottom right labeled “las tablas”, which shows what each Liga team got from TV Revenue in 2009-2010. Thanks for stopping by, and feel free to leave a comment or come back for more Liga coverage!]

This is maybe a little no duh, but del Nido offered his opinion (here is the account from Marca) on the ongoing negotiations for the next TV revenue contracts, and it sounds like he’s dead-set on making some real changes to the way things are done in La Liga in the near future. This article’s a little long, so I tucked it away under the cut for you:

The article fills in the backstory, but if this is the first you’re hearing of this, currently in Spain Real and Barca get LOTS more money than any other teams in La Liga (this article has a bit about what they currently get and what’s being offered for the new contract; here is some more info about current negotiations), which obviously contributes to inequality that Real and Barca (and their supporters) lament when it suits them to say they wish the other teams were more competitive. Right now Real and Barca take about half the TV revenue (around 150 million euros each) while little guys like Sporting Gijón get less than 1% (as little as 2.5 million).

Frankly, I don’t see how anyone can defend the current system, and I know at least some of you guys feel the same–I’d wager Mike and SRH know more than me and have more to say about this–but in the process of “researching” this post I stumbled across this Barcelona discussion board which has all sorts of proof that anyone will support a bad idea if it means they get more money. Some of my favorite comments:

“Only thing that would be right to do when TV revenue is shared is to give each by their popularity based on number of viewers. Likes of Sevilla should be thankful that they are getting what they are atm because if they released the numbers Barca and Madrid would be entitled to even more than they are making now.It’s not fair but it’s business and Barca shouldn’t do charity work for Sevilla and co. They don’t do us favours when we bid for their players, now do they? We have financial problems of our own anyway.”

The same guy said of smaller teams complaining of not having enough money:

“It’s just an excuse. Filling their stadiums + wise transfer policy should be pillar stones of their financial health.”

As far as I can tell, he’s being totally unironic when he says this AS A BARCA SUPPORTER.

In response to those arguments (and other more reasoned ones, I imagine), here are some choice cuts from del Nido:

“The contract they have offered to the two large teams, Real Madrid and Barcelona, I’m not going to sign. This cannot continue. If it is necessary, the two large teams can go and play in the French or Portuguese league and we will play with 18 teams.”

“Sevilla are the seventh or eighth club in terms of revenue, and I am disappointed to see the leaders of some clubs who have liquidity problems, who cannot see the wood for the trees.”

Give ’em hell, Jose.

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35 Comments

Filed under Editorializing, Jeremy, La Liga en general, La Liga TV Revenue

35 responses to “Del Nido, TV Revenue Sharing, and La Liga

  1. mikesfc

    Wow…just wow. This is my favorite:

    “They don’t do us favours when we bid for their players, now do they?”

    Totally disregarding the fact that they are/were our players…players we didn’t have the option to keep due to the financial inequalities inherent in the current setup. I mean really, all factors being equal, does Villa leave Valencia for Barca? I think not.

    It is a sport…it is fun only when the field is level and the rules apply to all competitors. Be smarter, faster, more skillful than your opponent…that’s the objective. Being richer shouldn’t be the single overriding factor. God forbid you should actually have to weigh some potential consequences of your spending before simultaneously requiring bank loans to make payroll and complaining that Arsenal won’t take ‘our’ +/- $30 million for Fabregas.

    The 20 teams should split the La Liga contract equally. The best teams already and will continue to rake in the European money…there is your reward for excelling…UEFA money plus additional money from a series of all but guaranteed sellout dates in your stadium. If you continue to excel, your brand will continue to grow and your team will continue to prosper…it simply shouldn’t be the Barca/Real birthright that is funded by 18 La Liga also rans in perpetuity.

    • jrmrhr

      “It is a sport…it is fun only when the field is level and the rules apply to all competitors. Be smarter, faster, more skillful than your opponent…that’s the objective. Being richer shouldn’t be the single overriding factor.”

      Exactly. And when people say “it’s a business!”, they’re of course correct in one sense. But even in that sense, the business is selling a product, and that product is COMPETITION. Decisions therefore need to be made from the perspective of protecting the league’s biggest asset, which is not Leo Messi or Real Madrid or any person or team…it is those entities COMPETING against one another.

  2. srh

    hmm…. i agree with about 80% of what you guys are saying. but i actually dont mind SOME imbalance. i dont think things need to be perfectly equal, and i think having two main “big” teams is actually shown to be good for drawing crowds and generating a following for a league (think the yankees in baseball… its a very open question whether they are good or bad for the sport).

    but i think that inequality does not need to come from tv revenues (at least so severely). already, as stated, sold out stadiums account for a large amount of income, additional european tournaments and championships, and i think the biggest one is actually merchandise sales where sevilla will need a decade just to catch up to valencia or atletico madrid, let alone barca or mierda…

    anyway, the current tv revenue sharing system is certainly absurd and needs SOME if not a good amount of recalibration. and i love that del nido is fighting the good fight.

    • mikesfc

      I think some imbalance is fine as well, nor do I think that Barca and Real should be faulted for consistently being the top two teams in the league, or world for that matter.

      However, it is disingenuous to pretend, as many of their supporters do, that they are where they are year in and year out independent of any off the field factors that most consider to be uneven at best, unfair at worst.

      The whole point is I think trying to at least divert some of the money stream to the other clubs, and the tv contract should be bargained as a league, not as 2 + 18. Let ’em keep their merchandising money…SFC needs to get better at that anyway. But as it sits right now, Ba/Real get the money from tv, UEFA, and merchandising, and each goes hand in hand to drive the other up (well, not UEFA money.) The more they are on tv the more kits they sell, which means more money to spend, which means better players, which means more European appearances/ championships, which means more tv money, and so on…each facet conspires with the other to drive revenues up. I don’t begrudge Ba/Real their money (their merchandising alone is an already insurmountable mountain, but also earned.) I just think every other team in La Liga should have a fighting chance compete for a share of it, and any supporter of the big two who disagrees with that doesn’t have faith that their club could do as well with less inherent advantages.

    • jrmrhr

      Yeah I don’t know that every piece of the TV revenue needs to be exactly split–I don’t think that’s a wrong answer, but it’s certainly not the only answer. A plan that splits the revenue by finishing place in the table is I think a fantastic idea that would have the added bonus of giving the teams between 8th and 16th places (that’s nearly half the league, after all) something to play for after they’re mathematically eliminated from Europe or safe from relegation. (Along the same lines, actual money for places would probably do well to lessen the maleta culture at the end of every season…why accept a small sum from some team to lose a game when winning would get you a larger piece of the TV revenue?)

      As far as a perfectly even split goes, though, I do think that success in the league brings enough financial windfall (and further success) that equal sharing would hardly be an injustice to traditionally successful teams. Obviously Real and Barcelona would continue to be the big two if money was shared more evenly–their global branding, jersey sales, ticket sales, European prestige and regional clout with banks and politicians will always ensure that they have the means necessary to maintain spots at or near the top.

      • jrmrhr

        Ha, Mike beat me to some of the same points by two minutes! NO FAIR!!!

      • mikesfc

        Don’t Barca and Real already have their own tv contracts a la ManU, Chelsea, and Milan? As far as I am concerned they should be able to keep any and all revenue from those streams. The demand is obviously there for more Barca/Real programming…kudos to them. The actual La Liga games contract should be a more equal split though, because, again, Barca and Real are not playing in a vaccuum the 36 rounds of the La Liga season they are not playing each other. No opponent=no league=no Europe=eventually no Barca/Real.

      • mikesfc

        Ha, Mike beat me to some of the same points by two minutes! NO FAIR!!!

        It was a race, but it wasn’t really fair because I got the bulk of the TV contract money.

      • jrmrhr

        that’s probably how you were able to afford your better computer and faster internet connection!

      • mikesfc

        That’s right; all you second tier posters just better learn to live with it.

      • jrmrhr

        In all seriousness, Mike, I’m not sure about Real and Barca’s TV contracts…my understanding is that there is no overarching league deal, and that each club is expected to negotiate individually the fees they’ll get. But I don’t fully understand how that works. In reading today it seems there was a study conducted by sportundkmarkt.com that all the articles are using as far as the inner workings of the current deal, but for the life of me I couldn’t (in the time I had) find the actual report to read further.

        At any rate that report (I gather) also mentions one of the most compelling reasons for more equitable sharing: La Liga is sinking fast into insurmountable debt that is being driven by (you guessed it) players’ wages (see here: http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=788913&sec=europe&cc=5901) that, without more sharing of league money, will mean that Barca and Real really will be playing in another country if something doesn’t happen soon–there won’t even be a Liga.

  3. theo973

    Well I came in to other my opinion which is equally important to yours but because its smaller and less well known I only got a tiny fraction of your revenue…

    • mikesfc

      Stop complaining. I’d like to buy your computer.

      • theo973

        Ok. But I’m not gonna do any favours for you when you buy my computer. Even though you have financial problems of your own…

      • jrmrhr

        THEO! You should make that sale! If you do that you could afford electricity and internet for the next year! Go to the pawn shop and find a cheap computer to use and you’ll be set!

      • mikesfc

        What financial problems? I bought 5 computers last summer. That means I am financially sound.

      • jrmrhr

        speaking of all those computers you bought, i have this incredible flashy alienware computer that was voted best computer of the year in 2005 which i would like to sell you for 3 times what i paid for it.

      • jrmrhr

        did i mention that it’s FLASHY?!? and SHINY?!?! it has lights on the outside of the box! YOU CANNOT RESIST THIS EXCITING PIECE OF MACHINERY!!!

  4. mikesfc

    I would very much like to buy that computer. I’ll need to find a buyer for the one I bought last year first. No wait…I just borrowed some money…how much? Eleventy million? a bargain.

  5. rrnchbmrs

    this is a good discussion. i may or may not have anything new to add to it. there’s an update on marca that the presidents of villareal, athetic and espanyol have joined with del nido in this protest. this means that some of the other leaders of “third tier sides” (1st: rm/barca, 2nd: val/atl) are getting on board. i’m interested that espanyol has joined, as they are not often fighting for spots in europe despite their current table position. if more of these teams start joining, there could be some change. who knows. what’s interesting but not at all shocking, is that marca is relegating this information to the 4th or 5th page (based on its importance on their website). it’s way beneath six different articles that are probably about the life-changing pat on the head mourinho gave to the boy who last shined his shoes, cancer patients recovering along with RM’s form, or whatever other ejaculate they can squeeze out of mourinho’s midweek pressies.

    now i’m just getting sick to my stomach thinking about it. equal tv rights now!

    • mikesfc

      Seriously, Valencia and Atletico need to pull their collective heads out…they were closer to relegation than second place last year and its only gonna get uglier unless they take a stand now. I understand the point, but there are no second tier sides, just Barca and Real, and then everyone else in varying degrees of “played in the league that year as well.”

  6. jrmrhr

    as long as we’re all here and chatting, does anyone know much about HTML? as you can see over on the right i put in the league table as it currently stands, but i’d like to be able to just link to, say, soccernet’s current league table and have it auto-update. (what i have there now is just their source code, modified a little for our blog). i have no idea what i’m doing, and obviously i’m not going to update that many cells every week–i can barely remember to update the results and upcoming fixtures pages–so it’d be nice to have that just auto-update.

    anyone know anything about this sort of thing?

  7. mikesfc

    That seems to be the case, and that’s why Real and Barca don’t want the collective deal. There are some scary numbers here as well:

    http://fourfourtwo.com/news/spain/65356/default.aspx

    According to the article, even after the current deals expire in 2014, the proposal from Barca and Real would still keep their whopping piece of the pie plus 34% of any increases with a new deal:

    “…any agreement would not come into effect until around 2014, after current contracts expire, and the proposals tabled most recently would guarantee current income and only share whatever extra clubs managed to negotiate in any new deal with television companies.”

    In other words, we (Barca and Real) keep what we have now. Also, we (Barca/Real) get a third of whatever La Liga negotiates in excess of the current contract…best guess is somewhere bewtween 200 and 300 million euros.

    The Premiership earns just over a billion euros/ year through a collective tv contract. in 2008-9, ManU collected 53 million pounds while Portsmouth earned 31.8; ManU came away with 1.7 times as much as Pompey. Real earned, wait for it, 145 million euros; two La Liga teams at the bottom that year, Sporting Gijon and Numancia, earned 2.6 million and 2.4 million respectively. That, my friends, is laughable.

    • mikesfc

      This was supposed to be in reply to Jeremy’s “in all seriousness…” post.

    • jrmrhr

      I’m not sure, but my understanding based on the articles I’ve read is that this would be a new deal, and that these new percentages would be of the total new dollar amount. I might be way off, and definitely that article makes it sound as you’ve said it, but most of what I’ve read made it sound like a new, restructured deal. obviously we’ll all have to follow this closely for any new details.

      • mikesfc

        I think you are right…that would make sense to me…the article states it differently but also said that was the proposal made by Barca and Real that was not approved by the other teams.

  8. theo973

    I’d just like to point out how this conversation has evolved from serious discussion to the point where my computer has become a metaphor for chrygynsky/ibrahimovic and then back to serious discussion again.

  9. theo973

    In all seriousness, I don’t get why Valencia and Atleti get to be on a separate tier above us. Is it to do with viewing figures because that is the most fucked-up thing for a TV deal for the WHOLE league.

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