Finance

Billionaire battle for Spanish football rights: top clubs sabotage investor CVC

The two arch-rivals have launched an offensive to thwart the CVC deal. They have written to the presidents of the other 39 teams in the first and second division of Spanish football urging them to reject the CVC deal and support their alternative, Spanish media including El País reported this week.

Importance for 50 years

Investor CVC made a business proposal to La Liga earlier this year. Under that deal, the private-equity company would make a capital injection of 2.7 billion euros into the Spanish league. In return, CVC wants an 11 percent stake in the television rights for a period of no less than fifty years. The rest of the money would flow back to the clubs.

The proposal met with the two most successful clubs, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. Together with Athletic Bilbao and a fourth club that wished to remain anonymous, they refused to sign. But the rest of the clubs did agree in August, which reduced the capital injection to around 2.1 billion euros.

Soon the reluctant top clubs decided to file a lawsuit against CVC Capital, CVC chairman Javier de Jaime Guijarro and La Liga chairman Javier Tebas.

Own proposal

In the meantime, FC Barcelona, ​​Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao – the Basque tradition club that won eight national championships until the mid-1980s – now come up with their own proposal. They are helped in this by investment banks Bank of America, JPMorgan and HSBC, the Financial Times writes citing anonymous sources.

In this new proposal, a special vehicle is being set up that will raise 2 billion euros from investors, in order to finance all Spanish clubs. This money would be repaid over a period of 25 years, at an interest of 2.5 to 3 percent. The three clubs promise that this proposal will save Spanish clubs 12 billion euros in the long run, and it would prevent La Liga from being tied to CVC for 50 years.

So it has not yet been said who will get away with the Spanish football rights. “CVC is a very wealthy fund that has already offered 1.7 billion euros on the Italian Serie A,” says sports marketer Frank van den Wall Bake.

“But in Spain, the voice of FC Barcelona and Real Madrid is extremely important because they are the ones who ensure the interest of TV viewers. Whoever gets the rights, I expect it to turn out to be a collective sale by the clubs,” said Van den Wall Bake.

British lord and master

Meanwhile, Spanish clubs have been watching the British Premier League with envy for years. In 2015, the British sold their TV rights for three seasons to Sky Sports and BT for the amount of 5.1 billion pounds (more than 7 billion euros at the time), an absolute record in the history of football.

Since then, the Premier League has been happily rumbling on. For the period 2019-2022, it will collect 5 billion euros, while in November it also closed a deal with the American television station NBC Universal. They pay the equivalent of 2.37 billion euros to be able to broadcast the Premier League matches live in the US for the next six years.

Added up, that is more than 14 billion euros, with which the British have put all other national football competitions at a distance financially.

And the Netherlands?

The broadcasting rights for the Dutch Eredivisie were sold at the end of 2012 for a period of twelve years. The American TV network Fox of media mogul Rupert Murdoch paid 1 billion euros for it.

This contract expires on June 30, 2025, manager Marc Rondagh of the Eredivisie CV informed RTL Z on request. “A new contract is not yet being negotiated, but of course there is a lot of enthusiasm for the Eredivisie matches,” said Rondagh.

Offers will certainly also come from private equity, expects marketer Van den Wall Bake. “Once those parties have shopped out in Italy and Spain, they end up at the Dutch clubs. Especially because Ajax is currently doing so well in Europe and the Netherlands may soon receive two tickets for the Champions League. This is how the Eredivisie is again in the spotlight. “

He thinks that the Scandinavian NENT Group, which recently took the Dutch broadcasting rights of Formula 1 from Ziggo, is also interested in the Eredivisie. “They like doing business with the Netherlands.”

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