La Liga looks to profit from the global football pie
La Liga’s organizing body announced on Thursday that it plans to hold regular season Spanish top-flight games in the United States in the future.
European clubs and leagues have increased their presence in the United States in recent years as they seek to make a dent in the country’s vast sports market.
This will also be boosted by the fact that the United States is to host, along with Canada and Mexico, the 2026 World Cup.
“LaLiga, Spain’s top-flight soccer competition, and Relevent, a multinational media, sports and entertainment group, today announced a first-of-a-kind 15-year, equal joint venture to promote soccer in the U.S. and Canada,” said a statement.
“As part of the agreement, LaLiga plans to bring a regular-season club match to the United States, the first to be played outside of Europe.”
The teams and the venue for the match were not disclosed, with the plan immediately attacked by Spain’s professional footballer’s union (AFE), criticising the league for not consulting the players or fans.
“As usual, La Liga has ignored the opinion of players and compromises them with actions which only the league benefits from, without showing any consideration for the health of players and much less the sentiment of fans of the clubs…,” said the statement.
David Aganzo, head of the AFE, added: “Footballers are not a currency that can be used in business deals that only benefit third parties.”
It appears the opposition has failed to dent La Liga’s drive, encouraged by its president Javier Tebas.
“We’re devoted to growing the passion for soccer around the world and this ground-breaking agreement is certain to give a major impulse to the popularity of the beautiful game in the U.S. and Canada,” Tebas said.
On La Liga’s quest to gain a bigger share of the global football pie, notably competing for market share with the powerful English Premier League Last season, the league took A$5.6 billion, in receipts, 40% from TV rights, with a pre-tax profit of A$366m.