Bidding process for Spanish football betting streaming rights criticized

Posted on: September 21, 2022, 07:34h.

Last update on: September 21, 2022, 09:12h.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF, for its Spanish acronym) is currently negotiating betting streaming rights for major football events in the country. However, this could run into problems, as Spain’s competition watchdog has raised concerns about how the RFEF is implementing its plan.

Champions of the King's Cup FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona players celebrate winning the Spanish Copa del Rey football league in 2021. The country’s main football federation is negotiating a new deal over streaming rights for the matches, but a competition watchdog believes that this agreement could violate established laws. (Photo: FC Barcelona)

Streaming is becoming big business – bigger than cable TV in some markets. This is especially true for sports streaming, as organizations seek to appeal to the entire international crowd.

The RFEF is looking to leverage this growth to expand global exposure to Copa Del Rey and Super Cup football tournaments. However, the National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC, for its Spanish acronym) does not believe that the organization presents its offer in a fair and transparent manner.

Back to the drawing board

The CNMC, which is responsible for ensuring fair consumer markets, told RFEF that it should make some changes to the marketing of event streaming rights. In particular, the watchdog wants the organization to revise its bidding guidelines to better adhere to the principles of competition and non-discrimination.

The CNMC only made recommendations, not demands. He also pointed out that the tender could be in violation of Spanish law, which could lead to problems for the RFEF.

The watchdog specifically referred to a Spanish law that has been in effect since 2015. It deals with streaming rights for football events, but the CNMC did not specify which sections the RFEF could potentially violate.

It did, however, provide some clues. The CNMC wants the RFEF to specify whether the rights are awarded in three lots – Spain, North America and the rest of the world – or in a single lot. In addition, CNMC indicates that the RFEF must better specify the procedures for preparing and presenting tenders, and the request for clarification.

There are also concerns that the wording of the tender may give “excessive discretion” to the RFEF in how it selects the winner of the tender. In other words, the tender does not detail the terms and conditions that the RFEF will use to make its decision.

The RFEF, which severed its streaming relationship with Fuchs Sports in March, presented its offer last July. In it, the outfit explicitly stated that it had followed the 2015 law in developing its streaming rights program.

Furthermore, the RFEF has stated that the new agreement will be valid for the next three seasons. Confusingly, the CNMC suggested in its report that the organization limit the deal to three seasons. It was obviously already in place.

RFEF becomes a money-making machine

Since the entry of a new management team just over four years ago, the RFEF has recovered. The private entity does not receive public subsidies and has improved its financial situation. It has gone from a budget of 146 million euros ($144.51 million) in 2018 to 406 million euros ($401.9 million) this year.

In 2017, the RFEF made a net profit of €8 million ($7.92 million). By 2021, that figure had risen to 32.8 million euros ($32.46 million).

The improvement came from three different areas. First, the RFEF has seen growth in sponsor revenue. This has improved by 175.15% since 2018.

Additionally, streaming rights have become extremely important. Revenues from rights increased by 110.84% ​​over the same four years. Finally, revenue from competitions, including the new Super Cup format, saw the strongest growth. It skyrocketed 262.91%.

Leave a Reply