ESPN acquire TV rights for Spain's LaLiga in record $1.4 billion deal over eight seasons
The deal is the most lucrative television deal by a US broadcaster for an overseas football league, eclipsing the $1 billion paid by NBC for rights to broadcast the English Premier League.
US sports broadcasting giant ESPN has acquired television rights for Spain's LaLiga in a record deal worth $1.4 billion over the next eight seasons starting from the 2021-2022 campaign, the company said Thursday.
A statement from ESPN said all 380 LaLiga games each season would be available live through its streaming platform ESPN+, with selected games on its traditional ESPN networks.
The deal covers English and Spanish language broadcasts and also includes LaLiga's second division fixtures.
ESPN already broadcasts other domestic Spanish competitions including the Copa del Rey and Spanish Super Cup.
The value of the agreement was not revealed in the ESPN statement but a source with knowledge of the deal confirmed to AFP it was worth $1.4 billion or $175 million for each of the eight seasons covered.
The deal is the most lucrative television deal by a US broadcaster for an overseas football league, eclipsing the $1 billion paid by NBC for rights to broadcast the English Premier League. NBC's six-year agreement with the Premier League runs until 2022.
"This agreement will bring the excitement, passion, iconic clubs and global superstars of LaLiga to US sports fans with unprecedented access and coverage," said Burke Magnus, ESPN's executive vice president for programming & original content.
"As the sport of soccer continues its ascendancy in the US market, we are incredibly excited to work with LaLiga to establish a deeper connection to American fans through our company's industry-leading streaming platforms, television networks, and digital and social media assets."
LaLiga president Javier Tebas hailed the deal as a "historic" agreement.
"We are absolutely thrilled to bring LaLiga to ESPN in the US," Tebas said.
"This is an historic eight-season agreement in US soccer broadcasting that speaks to the power of LaLiga and its clubs in the largest media market in the world and will bring the world's best soccer league to American screens in a more comprehensive and modern way than ever before."
The deal also includes rights for Canada, with games being shown via the TSN and RDS networks.
Barcelona midfielder Gavi, already a key player for his club at 18 years old and a regular with Luis Enrique's Spain, has a one billion euro release clause.
Karim Benzema has missed the team's last two games with a thigh injury and was hoping to be fit, but did not train with the team on Saturday.
LaLiga giants FC Barcelona confirmed that Ronald Araujo suffered adductor injury while playing for Uruguay and French defender Jules Kounde has thigh injury