Spanish Soccer’s Tendering Process for Betting Streaming Rights Comes Under Fire

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

Last updated on: September 21, 2022, 04:59h.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF, for its Spanish acronym) is currently negotiating betting streaming rights for major soccer events in the country. However, Spain’s competition watchdog has voiced concern over how the RFEF is implementing its plan.

Copa del Rey Champions FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona players celebrate winning Spain’s Copa del Rey soccer championship in 2021. The country’s leading soccer federation is negotiating a new game streaming rights deal, but a competition watchdog believes the arrangement may violate established laws. (Image: FC Barcelona)

Streaming is becoming a big business – bigger than cable TV in some markets. This is particularly true of sports streaming, as organizations seek to draw the entire international crowd.

The RFEF is looking to take advantage of that growth to extend global exposure to the Copa Del Rey and Super Cup soccer tournaments. However, the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC, for its Spanish acronym) doesn’t believe the organization is presenting its tender fairly and transparently.

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

Back to the Drawing Board

The CNMC only offered recommendations, not demands. It also pointed out that the tender might violate Spanish law, leading to problems for the RFEF.

The watchdog specifically referred to a Spanish law on the books since 2015. It discusses streaming rights of soccer events. But the CNMC didn’t specify which sections the RFEF may be violating.

It did provide a couple of clues. The CNMC wants the RFEF to clarify whether the rights are tendered in three lots – Spain, North America, and the rest of the world – or in a single lot. In addition, CNMC says RFEF needs to better spell out the terms for the preparation and presentation of offers and the request for clarification.

There is also concern that the language of the tender gives “excessive discretion” to the RFEF in selecting the winner of the tender. In other words, the tender doesn’t detail the terms and conditions the RFEF will use to make its decision.

The RFEF, which broke off its streaming relationship with Fuchs Sports in March, presented its tender this past July. The outfit explicitly stated that it followed the 2015 law in developing its streaming rights program.

In addition, the RFEF said the new agreement will be valid for the next three seasons. The CNMC suggested that the organization limit the deal to three seasons in its report.

RFEF Becomes Money-Making Machine

Since the entry of a new executive team a little over four years ago, the RFEF has turned itself around. The private entity doesn’t receive public subsidies and has improved its financial position. It has gone from a budget of €146 million (US$144.51 million) in 2018 to €406 million (US$401.9 million) this year.

In 2017, the RFEF had a net profit of €8 million (US$7.92 million). As of 2021, that figure had jumped to €32.8 million (US$32.46 million).

The improvement has come from three different areas. First, the RFEF has experienced growth in income from sponsors. This has improved by 175.15% since 2018.

In addition, streaming rights have become extremely important. Income from the rights has grown by 110.84% ​​over the same four years. Lastly, income from competitions, including the new Super Cup format, has experienced the greatest growth. It has skyrocketed 262.91%.