Wednesday December 6, 2023

Real Madrid Rejects $137M League Deal Over Media Access

  • Real Madrid has been opposed to offering behind-the-scenes media access.
  • La Liga is bringing in billions of dollars in broadcasting revenue each year.
Bayern Munich
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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Real Madrid sits atop La Liga after eight matches this season — and all while forgoing an additional chunk of media rights revenue.

The top soccer league in Spain has huge media rights deals around the globe — including its $5.6 billion domestic pact with Movistar and DAZN and its $1.4 billion contract with ESPN for U.S. rights. It also has a $30 million deal with EA Sports.

With the influx of revenue, La Liga has been trying to incentivize its clubs to be more open when it comes to media access, allowing for fans to get a better behind-the-scenes look at team and game operations.

While 19 of this season’s 20 clubs are complying, Real Madrid isn’t. Since the beginning of the season, the club hasn’t allowed extra cameras and microphones near coaches and players — costing the team its $14.2 million share of the initiative’s $137 million pot.

“I would prefer to accept a pay cut for it not to come in,” Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said recently of the extra camera access.

Alternate Plans?

Real Madrid was so opposed to the extra media access that it filed a legal complaint ultimately thrown out by a judge.

In September, Apple CEO Tim Cook visited Real Madrid executives, sparking speculation that the club could be interested in striking a deal with the tech giant, which is getting more involved in sports media deals.

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