EPL-style deal set to boost La Liga

Currently, the clubs negotiate their own TV contracts in what is known as the ‘rights of arena’ agreement. In the new deal, Real and Barcelona will not lose out as there are stipulations in place to preserve their revenue stream.

La Liga is set to become more competitive with a new TV-deal.   -  AP

It is heartwarming to see a big scramble at the top of La Liga, the clubs chasing the top prize before the new television money is rolled out.

In the last decade, La Liga has mostly been witnessing a two-or three-horse race with predictable results, and the usual suspects eventually finishing on top of the heap.

But, this season, early indications reveal that the potential contenders — Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid — will have to pull up their socks to retain their status.

Champion Barcelona suffered a body blow in its pursuit to retain the crown, losing to promoted side Alaves (2-1) and Celta Vigo (4-3), while Real Madrid was held by lowly Eibar (1-1) and new boys Las Palmas (2-2).

Atletico lost to Sevilla (1-0), and drew against promoted side Leganes (0-0) and Alaves (1-1). That it is currently fifth in the table reflects the struggle the team has had to endure this season.

“It’s good for us to evaluate things and recognise how difficult it is to compete in this league,” Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said after the Alaves defeat.

Meanwhile, Villarreal and Sevilla have set the alarm bells ringing, steadily climbing up the ladder and putting themselves in contention with some eye-catching displays.

The mid-table clubs have also raised the bar in recent times, coming up with a trick or two while upsetting the giants’ applecarts.

With the new revenue model set to flex its financial muscle by the end of the season, more surprises can be expected from the next season.

Earlier this year, the Spanish league announced a new television deal modelled on the Premier League’s equal-distribution method.

It aims to correct the existing ‘imbalances’ in earnings that allow top clubs to claim a disproportionate amount of the TV income, leaving the lesser clubs gasping for financial breath.

Currently, the clubs negotiate their own TV contracts in what is known as the ‘rights of arena’ agreement. In the new deal, Real and Barcelona will not lose out as there are stipulations in place to preserve their revenue stream.

In addition, the Spanish league will penalise clubs whose grounds aren’t at 75% capacity. It proposes to double the fine for those who don’t reach 50% — this, for the part of the grounds that are visible on TV screens.

Last year’s No. 2 side Atletico, which received 50m euros from the central pool and TV money last season, will get twice that amount this term.

The financial windfall is certain to make even the smaller clubs keep at bay the English clubs, which usurped as many as 17 players in the summer.

THE DISTRIBUTION MODEL

50% Equal share for all 20 clubs in La Liga

25% Merit money based on how the teams finished in the table in the last three years

25% Based on the resource-generation ability of the clubs

(Sudarsan is in Barcelona at the invitation of Sony Entertainment)

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