ITV to broadcast La Liga matches

Snow

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Meanwhile we show at least 5 games every weekend in Iceland. Fecking joke indeed.
 

DomesticTadpole

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As I have just got rid of Sky Sports it would just be my luck if they went in for it again. Really enjoyed having a weekend game to watch on ITV4 last season. This surely cannot be good for La Liga.
 

Mark_Barca

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Either DailyMail are talking pish or article is worded wrong as Premier Sports mentioned many times they bid.
 

DomesticTadpole

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Not sure, but when it states 'Offers for the rights were due on July 25 but no UK-based company came forward' that suggests nobody bid?
Suppose we will find out eventually, but I will not be paying another subscription. I have just given up Sky Sport to get the costs down.
 

Mark_Barca

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Suppose we will find out eventually, but I will not be paying another subscription. I have just given up Sky Sport to get the costs down.
Sky especially are a shambles. Lose rights to many PL games, CL, Golf majors, La Liga, Tennis, WWE etc and still charge higher price for their channels.

Decreased service increased cost. How does that work?
 

DomesticTadpole

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Sky especially are a shambles. Lose rights to many PL games, CL, Golf majors, La Liga, Tennis, WWE etc and still charge higher price for their channels.

Decreased service increased cost. How does that work?
God knows. No F.A. Cup either. They show the Chinese league and MLS, not exclusively, who care about those leagues? I still have BT for some football, but their PL commentators are awful and their co-commentators are worse.
 

Port Vale Devil

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Crazy really that probably the 2nd biggest league in the world with some of the greatest players cannot find a home in the UK.

I am really not interested in watching washed up players in the MLS or any other league out of the top 4 or 5 in Europe. Eleven sports really fecked it up when they came in last season streaming only without a channel on Sky or Virgin.
 

Mb194dc

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They're probably asking for too much money. Luckily there is always the internet :).
 

stubie

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Crazy really that probably the 2nd biggest league in the world with some of the greatest players cannot find a home in the UK.

I am really not interested in watching washed up players in the MLS or any other league out of the top 4 or 5 in Europe. Eleven sports really fecked it up when they came in last season streaming only without a channel on Sky or Virgin.
I wished a UK broadcaster would pick up Brasilerao as that’s an exciting league with some talented young players there at the moment
 

Damien

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Makes sense, really. La Liga won't want their league to be unaired in the UK, so selling a few games for ITV to show until they can reach a permanent deal with someone is a no-brainer.
 

Hugh Jass

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Dont watch it anymore anyhow. Used watch the Classico but could not be bothered these last two or three years.

PL and CL for me.
 

Fletchageddon

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Watched it last year once I realised it was on ITV4. It’s nice to get it free to air. I really appreciated that.
 

jojojo

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Watched it last year once I realised it was on ITV4. It’s nice to get it free to air. I really appreciated that.
I think that's the crunch really. A lot of us are already annoyed about having to have a Sky and a BT sub just to (legally) watch the PL/CL. Having to subscribe to a third system, like Premier or whoever, for La Liga is just pushing people's commitment too far.

I like La Liga, but not enough to pay for another subscription service.
 

DomesticTadpole

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I think that's the crunch really. A lot of us are already annoyed about having to have a Sky and a BT sub just to (legally) watch the PL/CL. Having to subscribe to a third system, like Premier or whoever, for La Liga is just pushing people's commitment too far.

I like La Liga, but not enough to pay for another subscription service.

Same here. Really enjoyed having access to games on ITV4. Hopefully Sky Sports won't get involved atm as I have just cancelled them. I would even be happy if ITV4 just showed one game like last time. Just to see some La Liga.
 

1966

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Pretty sure the cost of La Liga rights was quite low.
It was. The initial request for tender yielded no "acceptable" bids (i.e. no UK network was prepared to pay a decent amount for the rights). And the whole process was only set in motion because Sky let their contract lapse after it became clear that La Liga was unprofitable.

La Liga execs have clearly come to their senses since then and realised that a little money and some exposure is better than no money and no exposure, so they reduced the rights to a bargain basement price for clearance.

This reduction would've been the reason ITV was able to afford the deal and, indeed, bothered with it. AFAIK, ITV weren't even in for the rights during the earlier bidding, illustrating how far the cost must've fallen.

Overall, the obvious impression is that La Liga is not a popular or especially desirable product here in the UK. To be fair, it must be hard selling foreign football rights to the home of football with multiple strong domestic leagues to follow. People with jobs who can afford modern sports packages don't generally have enough free time to keep up with everything in England, let alone leagues in other countries.

Still, I miss Sundays on Sky Sports when there would be two or even three PL games followed by a La Liga game. You could chill and watch good quality football all day if you wanted. I used to have a TV next to my computer and just play slow-paced RPGs while watching the footie. Comfy. So I'm pretty happy about this simply because it means more football on TV.
 

Port Vale Devil

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It was. The initial request for tender yielded no "acceptable" bids (i.e. no UK network was prepared to pay a decent amount for the rights). And the whole process was only set in motion because Sky let their contract lapse after it became clear that La Liga was unprofitable.

La Liga execs have clearly come to their senses since then and realised that a little money and some exposure is better than no money and no exposure, so they reduced the rights to a bargain basement price for clearance.

This reduction would've been the reason ITV was able to afford the deal and, indeed, bothered with it. AFAIK, ITV weren't even in for the rights during the earlier bidding, illustrating how far the cost must've fallen.

Overall, the obvious impression is that La Liga is not a popular or especially desirable product here in the UK. To be fair, it must be hard selling foreign football rights to the home of football with multiple strong domestic leagues to follow. People with jobs who can afford modern sports packages don't generally have enough free time to keep up with everything in England, let alone leagues in other countries.

Still, I miss Sundays on Sky Sports when there would be two or even three PL games followed by a La Liga game. You could chill and watch good quality football all day if you wanted. I used to have a TV next to my computer and just play slow-paced RPGs while watching the footie. Comfy.
Great analysis you have just wrote and I am the same as loved a good Spanish game on a Sunday night to finish the weekend off. Really think ITV have missed a trick here as they are trying to get into sports with crappy box office boxing where they could be portfolioing some other sports on a dedicated channel and bringing quality football to the freeview market as they do with some darts and snooker.
 

Adamsk7

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I am surprised BT didn’t go for it. It might not be amazingly popular to Sky customers who have so much Premier League and Championship football to watch but with a little bit of a marketing push I could see it finding a good home on BT. It’d also strengthen their football offering on what is a far cheaper product than Sky Sports and yet provides much more variation.
 

TheThingThatShouldNotBe

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I used to watch several games a week as well as Revista La Liga back when it was on Sky, especially during the Pep vs Jose years. It wouldn’t just be Barca/Real/Atleti either, pretty much any game would be worth watching. Nearly all of my football friends were the same, none of them follow it now.

It’s a shame Sky didn’t renew before, I’m not sure I could name a player outside of of the top three teams now. One game a week on ITV isn’t enough to maintain interest for me when there’s so much going on you can’t see.

And as much as I enjoyed having games after the PL matches there was always the sense that they were the desert to the PL’s main course. Enjoyable but not imperative, and not worth paying extra for when spending so much on Sky and BT.

If they’re really not getting much money then surely maximum exposure is the way to go? Get all the games on ITV or Sky somehow.
 

FootballHQ

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I used to watch several games a week as well as Revista La Liga back when it was on Sky, especially during the Pep vs Jose years. It wouldn’t just be Barca/Real/Atleti either, pretty much any game would be worth watching. Nearly all of my football friends were the same, none of them follow it now.

It’s a shame Sky didn’t renew before, I’m not sure I could name a player outside of of the top three teams now. One game a week on ITV isn’t enough to maintain interest for me when there’s so much going on you can’t see.

And as much as I enjoyed having games after the PL matches there was always the sense that they were the desert to the PL’s main course. Enjoyable but not imperative, and not worth paying extra for when spending so much on Sky and BT.

If they’re really not getting much money then surely maximum exposure is the way to go? Get all the games on ITV or Sky somehow.
ITV did also show one hour highlights package on ITV 1 at about half 11 once they got the rights. Think it will be shown again for first 3 games and hopefully after. Can watch it to see how Ken Omeruo gets on at Leganes. ;)

Thought Sky did really good job with La Liga coverage in early days but then to me it got too Beckham-centric when he signed for Real Madrid. They'd show Real Madrid games from earlier in the day in the 8pm slot instead of the live game at that timeslot and their highlights show would be spent talking about him and the other Galacticos.
 

1966

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Great analysis you have just wrote and I am the same as loved a good Spanish game on a Sunday night to finish the weekend off. Really think ITV have missed a trick here as they are trying to get into sports with crappy box office boxing where they could be portfolioing some other sports on a dedicated channel and bringing quality football to the freeview market as they do with some darts and snooker.
I am surprised BT didn’t go for it. It might not be amazingly popular to Sky customers who have so much Premier League and Championship football to watch but with a little bit of a marketing push I could see it finding a good home on BT. It’d also strengthen their football offering on what is a far cheaper product than Sky Sports and yet provides much more variation.
Cheers, my Port Vale amigo. Glad to know I'm not the only one who enjoyed those late Sunday Liga games! (I know others did, just nowhere near enough for Sky to justify continuing to pay "real" money for the rights)

Both of you raise good ideas/points.

Unfortunately, some leagues are a bit precious when it comes to pricing. They see themselves as a premium product and prefer to put what is functionally a "reserve" price on their rights. Rather than giving in and accepting market forces, they would prefer to maintain a premium pricing model and retain the image of their brand as valuable.

Even if it's true that foreign leagues are getting shortchanged in countries like the UK, refusing to sell below a certain price is pure folly. If you have to give your rights away to get your league in front of people, that's ultimately what you need to do. I think that's more or less what the MLS does in the UK, albeit with a token sum changing hands. And as a result, we benefit by having live games on at the most random times (great for when you find yourself wide awake at 2AM, for example -- this exact experience has got me slightly invested in the MLS where I would otherwise neither know nor care much).

The low-balling may seem like an "insult" to leagues as prestigious as the likes of La Liga but if you don't generate exposure, you're never going to generate demand either and you risk becoming perpetually stuck in a vicious cycle. When it comes to luxury entertainment products, people don't get attached to what they don't see and they don't want to pay for what they're not attached to.

Both of your suggestions would offer the opportunities for attachments to form that may, in the long term, lead to genuinely lucrative license deals. Leagues need to think long-term like this. La Liga execs, in particular, need to accept that, right now, their product is really "two and a bit games per season" to most punters[1], especially with the distribution structure they have in place that promotes this status quo.

The BL has accepted the situation to some extent and has gone out of its way to use the internet and social media presence to provide free highlights and coverage with high production values aimed clearly at an Anglosphere (and, now, particularly British) audience, bolstered by the influx and success of exports like Sancho. LL has arguably even more work to do to hook a PL audience with their only British players making more appearances at the doctor's office than in games -- and more appearances in games of golf than football.

There's a whole generation of people that possess a certain fondness for Serie A due to its easy accessibility on C4 back in the '90s, with accompanying magazine shows etc. to showcase the league. Among that generation, there's still some love for the Italian league and it's certainly the most well-known and well-liked outside of these Isles for them. (Of course, the advent of widespread internet access would make this hard to replicate exactly - e.g. with the outdated "magazine" show format - but the general principle is just as applicable as it was back then.)

I'll stop rambling now though. :)

[1] Actually this part is true everywhere and is a major problem for LL. They briefly experimented with offering matches on a one-off PPV basis but sales for matches outside El Clasico were so bad that they had to abandon the model almost immediately.

The PL, on the other hand, has (6 * 5) * 2 = 60 major games per season, almost guaranteeing at least one a week. The inability of other leagues (in general) to match this frequency of key games really hurts them in competition with the PL, especially in the latter's homeland. The average adult (i.e. billpayer) is going to have time to watch a maximum of two games per weekend, which, by the time you take their own team + whatever blockbuster game is on that weekend, fills their entire quota with purely domestic footie -- leave alone the availability of the Championship too.

If they’re really not getting much money then surely maximum exposure is the way to go? Get all the games on ITV or Sky somehow.
Agreed. Another good point that concurs with the general consensus we're building (see above).
 
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Mb194dc

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A lot of the issue with the UK market is "piracy" I believe. Since Sky and BT doubled the price to watch EPL & CL in the last 5 or so years, it's grown more and more rampant.

That effects other league trying to sell rights in the UK as well. Lots of people watch I think, they're just not prepared to pay extra. Especially if they've already got BT and or Sky.
 

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OAPs cannot afford sky football packages. It's very unfair to be charging so much to see some football at weekends. Delighted for ITV to get to show La Liga games. Hope that others follow.
 

FootballHQ

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FFS It was good on ITV, surely they've could've stumped up something just to show the free to air game (and the highlights package).

Also dosen't affect me as I can just watch the La Liga games on Bet365 but it's not quite free to air given Freesports isn't on the bog standard freeview service.