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Telefónica secures key La Liga rights

Telefónica has secured the two most attractive packages of four lots of top-tier Spanish football rights awarded by La Liga.

The Spanish league has so far awarded four blocks of rights to the 2019-22 seasons out of a total possible eight, with Telefónica securing lots four and five for €980 million a season.

The telco said that the amount paid met its goal of providing the most attractive La Liga games at an appropriate price.

The company said that the deal would enable it to introduce new features and viewing options for Spanish football in the future.

Catalan broadcaster Mediapro, which recently secured the domestic rights to key Ligue 1 packages in France and failed to secure Serie A rights in Italy following a legal ruling, took the remaining two packages to offered so far, covering bars and exclusive highlights respectively, for €481 million.

The agreement marks a clear victory for Telefónica and its Movistar service, and places it in a stronger negotiating position with Mediapro to secure access to the latter’s Champions League rights. The agreement means that Movistar subscribers will be able to view al La Liga matches without the need for a deal with Mediapro’s BeIN Sport service.

Telefónica said that in terms of net costs, its deal implied a deflation in the price paid of over 5% compared with the previous round of rights allocations.

La Liga secured €1.14 billion per season for the rights awarded so far, which the league said represented an increase of 15% compared with the equivalent packages the last time round.

Separately, Orient Hontai Capital has formally acquired a majority stake in Mediapro parent Imagina after securing regulatory approval.

The Chinese investment group now has a 53.5% stake in Imagina, leaving advertising group WPP with a 22.5% stake and co-founders Tatxo Benet and Jaume Roures with 12% each.

The agreement with Orient Hontai, signed in February, gives Imagina an enterprise value of €1.9 billion.