Friday, 28 September 2007

TV or not TV

The Media wars that have been affecting Spanish League football this season intensified last night over the broadcasting rights for the Real Madrid - Betis match. Two rival media companies: Sogecable and Mediapro are currently in dispute over who has the right to show certain matches. Sogecable maintains that that Mediapro must first accept a contract on joint football rights signed by the two groups in 2006 and pay Sogecable a pending fine of around 70 million euros. Once Mediapro accepts these conditions, Sogecable said it will renew the broadcast of a television signal for the producer's use. Mediapro claims that the contract is no longer valid and denies that it owes Sogecable any fees. The latest salvo in this war ended up with the game being shown on Sogecable's pay per view channel, rather than on a free-to-air channel.

Real Madrid is caught in the middle of this dispute because it signed a deal with Mediapro last November for all its broadcasting rights until the 2012-2013 season. However, it has a still-current contract with Sogecable until the end of this season and is therefore legally bound to abide by its decisions on how matches are broadcast. To this effect, the club issued a communiqué yesterday deploring the current dispute, announcing that it had allowed both sets of TV cameras into the stadium in expectation of an agreement being reached and claiming that it had no choice but to comply with their contractual obligations to Sogecable.

The plot thickens because this match had been billed as the one free-to-air game that Spaniards have guaranteed by law (21/1997, if you must know) per round of the league. As the game was broadcast on PPV, this meant that no game was broadcast for free and the law has been broken. Real Madrid are probably unlikely to face any legal proceedings as they allowed both sets of cameras onto the stadium and it was Sogecable's insistence that they had the rights to the game that prevented it from being broadcast by Mediapro on their La Sexta channel. Sogecable's argument is likely to centre aruond the fact that they proposed other games for the free-to-air slot and it was Mediapro's intransigence that meant no games were broadcast. It's getting uglier by the day and will likely end up in the courts, as the stakes are very high for both sides.

The match result? 2-0 for Real, and very tedious it was too, so those who paid to watch it must feel even more disappointed. The only highlight, other than the fact that Real stay top was Julio Baptista's impressive overhead kick for the second goal. Let's hope he gets a few more minutes this season.


estoverao said...

yeah man, the whole TV scenario has affected the Madridistas here in NYC considerably. We have already missed 2 games because of the blackouts.

As far as 'the conspiracy theories' you mentioned in my blog, I'm going to devote a full blog to it next week. There just seem to be a lot of coincidences that add up to an interesting theory.

Anonymous said...

Ant idea wen this is going to end??

Gonzalo said...

In theory it could continue for the rest of the season, when I believe Sogecable's current TV contracts end. I suspect they'll have to come to some arrangement well before then, but at the moment, nobody's budging