Spanish soccer’s LaLiga enjoyed a 26% rise in domestic viewership for the 2021-22 season, ending a three-year decline in audience figures in the country.

The recently concluded campaign attracted an average of 301,000 viewers per broadcast match, according to a report by media consultancy group Geca.

This marks a welcome increase from the 2020-21 season when the closure of stadiums due to Covid-19 also appeared to have an adverse effect on TV viewership.

The average audience share for this season was 2.5%.

However, this year’s audience was still below 2019-20 and significantly lower than 2018-19, when LaLiga exceeded 429,000 average viewers per match.

Primary LaLiga rightsholder Movistar Plus, the pay-TV operator owned by telecoms giant Telefónica, attracted an average of 374,000 viewers and a 3.2% audience share.

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Gol, the Mediapro-owned soccer-focused digital terrestrial network, drew an average audience of 598,000 viewers and a share of 4.3%. The channel showed one free-to-air game per week.

Unsurprisingly, the most viewed broadcasts of the year were the two ‘El Clasico’ matches between Barcelona and Real Madrid. 

The largest audience of the season tuned in for Barca’s 4-0 win over their rivals in March, which was watched by 1.7 million.

According to the Geca report, the league managed to grow its audience across all age groups this year.

Around 22,000 average viewers were registered from the 13- to 24-year-old age bracket, while viewership from the 25- to 44-year-old group exceeded 48,000.

The bulk of the audience was the over-45 age range, with 220,000 viewers on average.

The highest share was the 13- to 24-year-old age bracket at 3.7% which was attributed to broadcasts on new platforms such as video streaming service Twitch and the creation of additional digital content to target younger viewers.

Telefonica has already renewed its broadcast agreement to continue showing the Spanish top-flight league for a further five years. It will share the rights with global sports streaming service DAZN which also agreed a deal running through 2026-27.

In March, Telefonica agreed a non-exclusive distribution deal with DAZN to show all matches from LaLiga next season.