Start to La Liga season threatened
The dispute between PRISA and MEDIAPRO for the domestic TV rights has threatened to delay the start of the Spanish Primera league which is scheduled to kick off August 18th. Thirteen teams which have signed with PRISA are demanding a meeting of all 20 clubs on August 14th to discuss and vote on a “transparent and regulated” system for match kickoff times. The 13 teams signed by PRISA are: Athletic Bilbao, Atletico Madrid, Real Betis, Celta Vigo, Espanyol, Getafe, Granada, Real Mallorca, Osasuna, Rayo Vallecano, Real Sociedad, Sevilla and Real Zaragoza.
PRISA Group owns and operates Canal+. MEDIAPRO, which has a close relationship with the LFP, last month called a scheduled auction for La Liga TV rights illegal because the 13 mentioned clubs have already signed exclusive deals with Canal+. PRISA cited a Spanish court ruling that limited rights contracts to three years and which it said nullified some of Mediapro’s deals. Besides the issue kickoff times, PRISA clubs are said to demand settlements of any outstanding debts with the clubs and to drop any legal demands against them. The statement went on to say “In the event that an acceptable solution for a majority of first division clubs is not achieved, the clubs are prepared to adopt whatever measures necessary, including postponing the start of the 2012-13 league championship,”
The root of the problem, from the perspective of many of the 13 clubs, is the lack of a collective bargaining and income sharing agreements within La Liga. The current system allows the two big clubs, Real Madrid and Barcelona to dominate revenue.