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Online business giants Facebook and Amazon have announced their interest in participating in the auction by the Spanish Professional Football League (“LFP”) of the contract for the rights to broadcast the Spanish football league in the 2019–2020 season.

In the last auction, for the 2016–2019 season, the LFP awarded the two main sets of football broadcast rights to Telefónica, via its Movistar+ platform and to Mediapro, via BeIn Sports. As in previous years, we would expect the same traditional operators, e.g. Mediaset, Atresmedia, Movistar and Mediapro to be bidding for the new broadcast rights. However, it seems that national pay-TV football has sparked the interests of other players.

Facebook, social media platform par excellence, and Amazon, multinational ecommerce company, will compete against the conventional operators in the LFP’s next auction. This is not that new if we consider that these two operators already have broadcasting rights over other sports tournaments in other countries: Amazon provides streaming of NFL (the US football league) games and of the Association of Tennis Professionals’ tournaments in the UK, while Facebook has the broadcast rights to the American League of Professional Baseball Clubs and to the European Champions League for US users.

The LFP expects to obtain the considerable amount of €2.3 billion for the 2019–2020 season. It is clear that the eruption onto the market of these two new operators makes it highly possible for the LFP to make those expectations happen. There is no doubt that the financial capacity of these new operators is far greater than that of the traditional operators who would have to channel this increase into the cost of their telephone and television contracts with clients.

If Facebook or Amazon manages to win the bid, it would be the first time in Spain that the football matches would not be seen on the traditional channels. We will be watching closely to find out how this matter ends.

Authors: Adaya Esteban and Jean-Yves Teindas

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