La Liga president: El Clasico must be for people in Asia and the US

El Clasico matches should be scheduled with a foreign rather than Spanish audience in mind, according to La Liga president Javier Tebas.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas   -  Getty Images

La Liga president Javier Tebas believes compromises must be made regarding El Clasico kick-off times to cater for viewers in Asia and the United States.

Since Tebas' appointment in April 2013, La Liga fixtures have been staggered in an attempt to maximise viewing figures across the globe.

The decision to stage matches on Mondays led to protests from supporters, forcing the Spanish Football Federation (SFF) to intervene earlier this year and scrap games taking place on that day.

And Tebas suffered another blow when the clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona was moved from Saturday October 26 to Wednesday December 18, with kick-off scheduled for 8pm CET.

That means viewers in Asia staying up into the early hours of the morning on a midweek day, but Tebas insists the high-profile fixture should have been rescheduled with a foreign audience in mind.

READ| Barcelona v Real Madrid: La Liga confirms December 18 Clasico

"Of the two Clasicos there are in a season, one should always be so people in Asia can watch without being asleep and the other should always be so people in the US can watch without being asleep," he told The Guardian.

"It is important to recognise that the followers of Spanish football are not just people who live in Spain.

"We must also respect the fans who are in Asia and the Americas – they are also contributing because they pay for their TV subscriptions, which in turn allows the clubs to pay big stars and helps turns La Liga into a global product."

READ| Real Madrid's James Rodriguez doubtful for El Clasico

Tebas is taking a forward-thinking approach as part of his plans for La Liga to overtake the Premier League as the most lucrative division in the world.

"Our cumulative global audience figure is more than 3.2billion but what that means is hard to say given the concept of an audience is changing," he said.

"Now it is also about 'users' and the minutes they are consuming your content. It could be people who are watching La Liga matches but it could also be people who are watching highlights on another device. 

"This is a growing trend and why, as well as working to grow our audience, we are working towards having more users.

"I'm convinced in 10 years nobody will be talking about audience figures – instead we'll be talking about users."

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos