La Liga president Javier Tebas believes OTT streaming platforms and other technology-based long-term planning is vital to secure the future growth of the Spanish competition.
While the effects of the coronavirus pandemic have forced the football industry into action, Tebas explained it should not come at the expense of exploring different revenue sources.
Speaking at the World Football Summit last week, Tebas outlined La Liga’s long-term plans which will centre on growth in the important digital sphere.
“We’re already working on a 10-year plan,” Tebas revealed.
“There’s already an understanding of what’s coming with regards to audio-visual rights, to technology and to over-the-top (OTT) platforms, which are here to stay. All of this means there’s a need to make plans for a long-term period of transition.”
“I think over these next 10 years, the most important thing for us will be the digital ecosystem,” he continued. “We’ve been working on our digital ecosystem for several years and have invested a lot of money in this, in the likes of OTT and anti-piracy.”
According to Tebas, these investments are needed because the value of audio-visual rights are unlikely to continue to grow at the same rate of the past decade. While the pandemic has contributed to this, the downturn in the market could even be seen before coronavirus affected all of our lives.
Factors like these are the reasons why the president feels it is necessary to turn to alternative revenue streams.
“There are other sources of revenue that we’ve been working on over the years that can be significant and that we think can help us complement the growth [in audio-visual rights income] that might not be two-digit growth,” he continued.
“There’s the digital sphere, there’s OTT and other types of products that you can offer to fans around the world.”
La Liga’s current OTT service, La Liga SportsTV, launched at the beginning of 2019, however primarily offers only lower profile sports in Spain.
As well as creating a platform for these sports, it has also given La Liga a wealth of information in regards to OTT streaming, which will be extremely useful in the years to come.
When asked whether the Spanish competition would ever consider introducing its own version of the NBA League Pass subscription model, Tebas stated: “Certainly. It’s a clever model for a competition’s growth. We’re already working on it and are in an advanced stage of a possible La Liga Pass.”
The president explained that such an offering would not compete with broadcasters, but rather complement existing partnerships.
“La Liga Pass is a product that would be adapted for each territory in the world and that can be offered in collaboration with the audio-visual broadcaster in each territory,” he said.
“It’s a product that could be directed at people who really like La Liga, the super fans, but are living in a territory where the broadcaster only shows a few matches and some highlights. You would be giving these fans more of what they want, which will help the broadcasters to have more value.”
At the centre of any digital growth, there will always be a need for good data capture and analysis, according to Tebas. “If you don’t have a good OTT and good artificial intelligence for all your data, then it won’t help your broadcasters much.”
While Tebas announced his long-term plans for the competition at the summit, in the short term, La Liga has adjusted its economic controls to ensure the game manages the setbacks of COVID-19.
“Reading the accounts from last season, many small and medium-sized clubs are still turning a profit in spite of the coronavirus situation,” he said.
“Next year, there will be profits too because of our economic control. La Liga, in collaboration with the clubs, decides ahead of time how much can be spent, based on income.”
“This had to be a transition year in the sense of signing players,” he concluded. “But these are the responsible measures to take if we are going to meet our collective long-term objectives.”