LaLiga gets free-to-air exposure in the UK with short-term ITV deal
ITV, the UK commercial broadcaster, today announced itself as the latest rights-holder in the country for Spanish soccer's LaLiga, as the fallout of international subscription broadcaster Eleven Sport's failure to land carriage deals continues apace.
ITV said that its sports and general entertainment channel ITV4 will show weekly matches from LaLiga, as well as a midweek highlights programme, until the end of the season when the league will seek a permanent solution.
ITV4's coverage begins this Sunday with Levante versus Real Madrid.
Niall Sloane, ITV director of sport, said: “This is good news for football fans who will be able to see on free to air television some of the world’s best players in action for some of the world’s biggest clubs in a league known for its high levels of skill and entertainment from now until the end of the season.”
The agreement comes less than 24 hours after UK pay-TV operator Premier Sports announced it had landed rights to four LaLiga games per week until the end of the season.
Rights to LaLiga have been retained by Eleven Sports on a digital-only basis until the end of the season, although the broadcaster said it has “the intention of continuing beyond.” It is still live-streaming all 10 LaLiga games each week.
Eleven Sports considers its UK service to now be a 'Spanish football platform' - it recently bought rights to the knockout Copa del Rey semi-finals - and had already announced a planned drop in the price of its monthly subscription by £1 ($1.31) to £4.99 from 1 March to reflect the loss of Italy's Serie A, the Netherlands' Eredivisie and the Chinese Super League to Premier Sports.
That occurred last month when Eleven terminated its arrangement with the IMG agency, which holds rights to the aforementioned trio of leagues.
After failing to agree carriage deals with Sky, BT and Virgin late last year, Eleven's stated aim in the UK was to become an OTT platform and sell off the TV rights part of its exclusive contracts, a template it believes could be replicated beyond this season.