LaLiga to work with NBA to enhance OTT platform
LaLiga president Javier Tebas has revealed the top Spanish soccer league is collaborating with North American basketball’s NBA to further develop its over-the-top offering.
Tebas said the league is looking into the possibility of replicating the NBA’s League Pass streaming model, which has worked successfully on a global scale for many years.
The LaLiga president believes OTT is the future of broadcasting and is keen to embrace technology to further utilise the steaming market in the coming years.
Speaking at the World Football Summit event, Tebas said: “We are cooperating with the NBA on technology issues. They are very good on the commercial side of their OTT, and we are ahead in the digital ecosystem.
“We are working for the future of LaLiga, 10 years from now. And that was impossible a few seasons ago.
“The TV rights business is not growing at more than 10 per cent. Therefore, we are working on other lines of business such as technology, OTT or the ‘LaLiga Pass’ strategy, similar to the NBA League Pass.
“This is taking us to OTT. In five or six years these will be the platforms with the most audience to follow sports in general.”
The Spanish top-tier launched its LaLigaSportsTV OTT platform last year offering free live streaming of a range of domestic sports events.
LaLiga initially launched the service as LaLiga4Sport, in 2016 to provide coverage of sports that do not necessarily enjoy wide exposure on television through a mixture of live action, highlights, features and news.
The service has 20 sport-specific channels, covering the likes of canoeing, handball, basketball, futsal, esports, field hockey, triathlon, water polo and soccer (highlights from the top-tier LaLiga Santander and live coverage, via a paid subscription, to the second-tier Segunda Division.
The NBA is among the sports leagues which has embraced technology the most and adopted a digital strategy very early.
The league has also used its League Pass service to roll out virtual reality broadcasts in recent years.
LaLiga has frequently embraced innovation and technology in an effort to reach more fans and boost its internationalisation strategy.
The league has also developed a business intelligence and data analytics strategy, launching its Mediacoach platform for in-game analysis, audiovisual production techniques and an OTT platform, LaLigaSportsTV.
Meanwhile, Tebas has criticised the Spanish government’s decision to ban gambling advertising in the country from next season.
Alberto Garzon, the government’s minister for consumer affairs, had been pushing for the legislation for several months and the royal decree on gambling advertising was officially approved by the council of ministers earlier this month.
The announcement concluded a year-long effort to change the law, with operators in Spain having been informed of potential drastic changes to advertising codes ahead of the 2019 general election.
The ban will affect several LaLiga clubs with the government informing those sponsored by betting firms that they will need to find a way to end all such arrangements by the end of this season.
Tebas is unhappy with the timing of the new law and believes it could have been handled differently.
He said: "It was not the time and it should have been regulated, and not prohibited because there are many inconsistencies in this prohibition."
A transition period to the end of the current season in May will be implemented, with 30 August, 2021 the specific deadline for when existing sponsorships must be cancelled.
This is likely to provide some relief to clubs across the country’s professional soccer structure, especially in LaLiga, where seven out of 20 teams have betting companies as their main sponsors.