Wednesday, 15 November 2006

The Best TV deal?

Ramón CalderónReal Madrid president Ramón Calderón announced on Tuesday evening that the club was close to agreement over the sale of the TV broadcasting rights for the princely sum of 800 million euros over 7 years (around 114 million a year).

Given that the current deal with pay TV channel Sogecable is worth around 55 million euros a year and runs until 2007, this is certainly a substantial improvement in revenue for the club. However, it is perhaps somewhat disingenuous to call the agreement "the most important in world sports history", given that rivals Barcelona agreed a larger package (around 1,000 million euros over 7 years) back in June with Mediapro.

Calderón declined to name the other party, but most observers suspect it is an improved offer from Sogecable, who would otherwise stand to lose the biggest TV draw in their current portfolio of Spanish clubs.

It is however interesting to note that there may have been reasons other than the purely financial behind the signing of this deal. According to Spanish financial website El Confidencial, a larger offer of around 120 million euros per year for five years from the publicly-run regional television station Telemadrid was rejected in favour of the Sogecable deal because Sogecable's owners, PRISA, are the most powerful media group in Spain, and Calderón does not want to antagonise them at this delicate stage when his presidency is being questioned by other candidates seeking to reinstate the postal vote.

[Update@21:20] Calderón has updated his figures on the agreement to a deal worth around 1,000 million euros over 7 years, and he specifically mentioned that it was "worth more than Barcelona's". Perhaps some of the articles were premature and the deal was indeed done in the best financial interests of the club. There's still no news as to who the other party is, so we'll just have to wait for confirmation in the next few days...

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