The National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) has indicated that the National Professional Football League (LNFP) must eliminate the possibility of submitting offers for a period of 4 and / or 5 seasons for the broadcasting rights of the national league championship. and that until now was limited to 3.
The CNMC, which has analyzed the proposals of the National Professional Football League to commercialize the broadcasting rights of the National League Championship for the coming seasons in the national territory and in international markets, considers that certain aspects should be modified, including the deadline for offers, according to a CNMC report published this Thursday.
LaLiga asked the CNMC on September 21 for a prior report -which is not binding- to the commercialization of the exploitation rights of audiovisual content in Spain of the National League Championship from the year 2022 for a duration of 3, 4 or 5 seasons according to the offers made by the interested operators.
For now LaLiga has not detailed the specific dates on which the bidding process will take placeand award of the rights, which will take place “as of October 2021.” What several sources from LaLiga have clarified to AS is that, in addition to the fact that the CNMC report is not binding and its objections are very similar to those of other years, it is based on resolutions of the European Union of 2010 and the market It is different today and that the employer has legal reports from legal and commercial firms ensuring that the five-year period favors competition, distribution and the lowest price for consumers. In fact, France and Germany are already selling the rights for four seasons.
The extension in the duration of the contracts is compatible, according to LaLiga, with several royal decrees, one of them from April 2020, of urgent complementary measures to support the economy and employment, which indicates that the “duration of marketing contracts will be subject to the competition rules of the European Union”, compared to the one in force up to now, which could not exceed three years.
It states in its financial report that an increase in the exploitation period would allow a reduction in the price paid by the end customer, as the acquirer of the rights could continue to achieve a positive internal rate of return on investment.
Rights divided into seven lots
In the CNMC report, the regulatory body assesses, on the other hand, the structure presented to commercialize the rights in various lots and options, since this can encourage more operators to participate and competition between them.
LaLiga pointed out in its report that the batches have been prepared with the aim of guaranteeing optimal marketing that encourages the largest number of offers possible, thus avoiding any possible exclusion or difficulty in making offers. The last soccer broadcasting rights, for three years, were acquired by Telefónica.
Secondly, the CNMC believes that LaLiga should guarantee the principles of publicity, transparency and non-discrimination in the process of awarding rights and eliminating in the evaluation of offers proposals such as the possibility of increasing the evaluation of an economic offer by up to 15% for technical-formal aspects not based on objective criteria or formulas.
What’s more, the CNMC believes that all issues that may generate discriminatory treatment among operators should be modified, such as the use of reserve prices for each lot or the sale of the rights together with the LaLiga Primera Channel of its own production.
Refuse that only pay television attends
The Commission recommends reviewing the limitation by which only pay television operators can exploit these lots, without allowing open-air operators to bid, which has repercussions on the concurrence of possible interested parties. The National League of Professional Soccer does not explain the reasons, according to the CNMC.
In its reports relating to the exploitation of contents of the national league championship in other territories outside the European Economic Area, lCNMC asks to clarify the content of the lots and the criteria for the assessment of the requirements for its award, to guarantee a transparent and competitive procedure, among others.
What will happen now?
LaLiga will review the report in detail and make, where appropriate, the pertinent modifications to the draft Bid Request Procedure. This will take a week. Afterwards, LaLiga’s audiovisual rights management control body will be consulted for approval. Surely on October 26, publishing it on your website.
Then, according to the sources consulted, the deadline for receiving questions from audiovisual operators in relation to the Bid Request Procedure will be resolved by LaLiga. The operators will have a period of four weeks to present their offers and once the term is over, the envelopes will be opened. (which include the offers received) in the CSD.