La Liga: Just Five More Years

 
on September 22 2012 12:49 PM

Spanish football is at stake and it will "kill itself" within five years, according to Jose Maria Gay de Liebana, Spain's most prominent football economist.

An economics professor at the Universidad de Barcelona, expressed his concern over the world’s one of the most famed soccer league during his fifth annual presentation on financial issues facing Spanish and European football.

One of the most well-respected professor stated that revenues aren't rising fast enough to match high costs and La Liga's television deals are poorly structured.

He also said that too much importance is placed on attracting Chinese fans and suggests the radical change of forming an Iberian league with Portugal's three biggest clubs

"If things go on like this, Spanish football will kill itself," he said.

"A year ago I predicted that La Liga had only ten seasons left, now I see that five more would be a lot.

"The Spanish league is not growing, there are only two teams, which are growing: Barcelona and Real Madrid.

"The remaining clubs are in the same position they were five years ago. Spanish football is dying and I think it has around five years left to live and the grounds are proving me to correct, because it is no longer attractive," continued Gay de Liebana.

Regarding the television rights and Chinese market, he said, "La Liga's television rights are badly sold because they are shared between two operators, when in the rest of Europe negotiations are with one party.

"Also, in my opinion, the Chinese market is wrongly prioritised, when the American and Japanese are more relevant. In this way, the global reach of the contracts should be changed."

According to Gay de Liebana, the decision to screen live football on pay channels in eight different time slots, also makes it more tempting for fans to stay at home rather than go to matches.

He also highlighted the regular change in kick-off time, which is “confusing and frustrating” for supporters.

The economist put some hard facts stating that, Real Madrid and Barca take almost 50 percent of the total television revenue for the entire La Liga, almost four times more than any other club in Spain.

As per the figures given by him, between 2010 and 2011 Barca earned 450.7 million euros and Madrid, 479.3 million euros.

The next highest earner was Valencia, who with 119.6 million euros, while Atletico Madrid earned 99.9 million and Sevilla 82.9 million.

He also pointed out some solutions, and that was to form an Iberian league, including Portugal's big three clubs.

"Today the Spanish league is not of great interest.

"Adding a Portuguese part would give us extra glamour, with Porto, Benfica and Sporting Lisbon. It would give us more character."

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