"Sport is the only content capable of concentrating millions of people confronted with a screen at a specific time"Carmen P. Flores
Daniel Margalef is in charge of the area of Sports Rights and Relations with La Liga in Mediapro since 2013. He began his career in the Department of Sports Production at TV3 and throughout the years has worked at the Catalonian public television and held different positions related to the world of sport.
From 2004 to 2007, he combined his position at TV3 with the General Directorate of Audiovisual Sport, a company that manages the Spanish League rights.
Mr. Margalef, what has it meant for Mediapro that Movistar has retained the broadcasting rights for men's Spanish football?
We are talking about a standard operation in the audiovisual rights market. Bids are called for to acquire the rights for certain periods and the winner is whoever submits the best offer. At Mediapro, we have been working in the field of rights acquisition for many years, so we are used to this. At the same time that we "lost" the rights in Spain, as examples, we won the rights of the French League and the Canadian League.
So the football war is not over?
The football war ended on February 5th, 2015 when the Supreme Court, challenged by PRISA's claims, declared that we were right.
Do you have differences of opinion with the Spanish Football Federation?
Who seems to have differences of opinion with us is the Federation. We have done nothing more than defend ourselves from attitudes that we consider illegal and unethical. Moreover, we will continue to do so.
Are you satisfied with taking up the international audiovisual rights over the next five years?
Mediapro has not acquired the international La Liga rights. Rather, on behalf of La Liga, we are responsible for the international sales of the rights that belong to them.
Does Mediapro count on the international commercialization of television broadcasting rights?
One of our Group's business units had been managing the audiovisual rights for more than 20 years. Moreover, not only the rights generated in Spain, and not only rights to football competitions.
Has pay-per-view failed?
On the contrary, premium content is increasingly asked for by viewers and there is no doubt that sports, and football in particular, is a privileged content for this type of channels and platforms.
Does Mediapro also manage the VAR?
Mediapro has a division specialized in providing VAR services in sports competitions around the world, commissioned by the organizers of the competitions. At the present time, we provide services in 16 countries.
Which international rights do you currently hold?
- One game per Santander League match day
- Two games per SmartBank League match day
- Exclusive free-to-air summaries of the Santander and SmartBank Leagues
- Liga Santander and SmartBank viewing in public establishments
- UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League viewing in public establishments
- One free-to-air match per day in the Europa League
- Women's First Division League
- Qatar 2022 World Cup
- 12 sub-20 and sub-17 World Championships, men and women and two Football World Cups
- UEFA Champions League (ceded to Movistar)
- UEFA Europa League (ceded to Movistar)
- League 1 (ceded to Movistar)
- Series A (ceded to Movistar)
- Australian League (ceded to Movistar)
- Chinese League (ceded to Movistar)
- Youth League (ceded to Movistar)
- Liga Asobal (shared with La Liga TV)
- World Paddle Tour
- UFC (Wrestling)
- French Football League 2020/24 First and Second Divisions
- Canadian Football League until 2028
- Canadian Cup
- Canadian Women's League
- Canadian Second Division
- Canadian men's and women's team until 2028
- El Salvador Federation qualifiers 2022
- Guatemala Federation qualifiers 2022
- Honduras Federation qualifiers 2022
- Chile Federation qualifiers 2022
- Bolivia Federation qualifiers 2022
- Paraguay Federation qualifiers 2022
- Consultant contract with the Uruguay Federation
You have got the rights of the World Cup in Qatar. What do you expect from it, given the controversy it has provoked?
The World Cup is a foremost competition and, controversies apart, becomes the centre of attention of all football fans during its course. Along with the Olympic Games, it is probably the most global competition, but with the massive follow-up that all the principal football events have got.
When playing the World Cup in the month of December, are you not afraid that at this time of the year fans do not have much appetite for football?
On the contrary, from the TV point of view, December is a month of considerable television consumption.
Women's football has taken off amidst great expectations. Do you think we can achieve the same levels of interest as the male version?
Why not? If everyone involved decides to support it, they can get where they want to be. It has considerable quality, as we see every weekend in the Iberdrola League, and as we have seen in the recent World Cup in France, and fans are growing in number. With wider broadcasting, greater professionalization and if no setbacks occur, women's football can get where it is wants to be. Nevertheless, it is clear that attitudes such as that of the RFEF are jeopardizing all that has been achieved in recent years.
What does it mean for women's football that Mediapro has the rights of the Iberdrola League?
Mediapro channels have been broadcasting women's football matches since 2012. It is a strategic commitment of the Group, and there is no doubt that the current coverage we have given has favoured its fame, and its value for sponsors and brands, that has helped to improve its facilities and the situation of the players,... It is a virtuous circle that has been put in danger due to the Federation's attitude and actions.
How do you see the future of broadcasting rights for majority sports?
As we have said before, sport is the only content capable of concentrating millions of people in front of a screen at a specific moment. The rest of the contents you can see however and whenever you want. Sport is direct, is emotion, and above all, I consider that it has a great future on TV.
And the future of your company on these issues?
Mediapro is not only engaged in the management of sports rights. We have a sizeable business unit engaged in audiovisual production, working on five continents. We produce content through The Mediapro Studio which is also provided through channels and platforms worldwide. Moreover, our digital division promotes e-sports competitions and platforms, such as UBEAT and LVP. We are aware that, to be at the forefront in these fields, we have to be pioneers and innovators, and because of this, innovation is in the Group's DNA.