Messi leaving won’t affect television revenue: La Liga president

Asked whether Messi’s possible departure next season could lead to a dip in television revenue, Tebas said: “No, because the international rights have been sold for the next four seasons. Also, there is no guarantee that he will leave.”
Barcelona's Lionel Messi.(REUTERS)
Barcelona's Lionel Messi.(REUTERS)
Updated on Sep 07, 2020 09:38 PM IST
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Kolkata | By

From saying that his departure won’t affect television deals to looking at Ansu Fati as the next big thing, president Javier Tebas gave enough indications of La Liga looking beyond the planet’s best footballer --- Lionel Messi.

Asked whether Messi’s possible departure next season could lead to a dip in television revenue, Tebas said: “No, because the international rights have been sold for the next four seasons. Also, there is no guarantee that he will leave.”

A Barcelona-based multi-media company, MediaPro, has a multi-year contract for La Liga’s overseas rights till 2023-24. The deal is worth 4.48 billion euros. With Spain amending a law earlier this year that enables longer television deals, La Liga could opt for one when the tender for a domestic broadcast deal is floated this year when Messi, who joined training on Monday, will be at Barcelona.

This was after Tebas had said: “I was not that worried (about Messi leaving this season). We always want Lionel Messi to be with us…to end his days here. (But) La Liga is above individual players and clubs. But we are so pleased he is staying.”

Goal.com has quoted Tebas as telling Italian daily ‘Corriere Della Sera’ that La Liga backed Barcelona on the contract issue with Messi to defend justice. Tebas said the league would have done it “whether your name is Messi or Pepito Perez.”

On Monday, Tebas was speaking at an event to launch La Liga’s 90th season, one where league ambassadors Andres Iniesta, Iker Casillas, Fernando Morientes, Luis Garcia, Samuel Eto’o, Fernando Sanz, Diego Forlan and Gaizka Mendieta also took part.

Messi, who has agreed to see out the final year of his contract because he didn’t want to take Barcelona to court, may not be the league’s most marketable asset for long but he was a reference point in the 50-minute discussion. “I love it that he is still at Barca but they will need more players,” said former Barcelona star Eto’o.

When it came to talking about Eden Hazard and his underwhelming first season at Real Madrid, Eto’o said: “I was with him Chelsea and I can say that at his best, he is at the level of Messi.” When the conversation veered to new players at Barcelona, Garcia said: “The best new player at Barcelona is Messi not leaving.” After talking about Atletico Madrid and calling Diego Simeone a “great trainer”, Forlan said he would love to see Barcelona doing well “after all those controversies.”

Morientes spoke about the importance of Joao Felix having a “stable season” at Atletico Madrid and 19-year-old Japanese Takefusa Kubo and Mendieta said he hoped Frenkie de Jong would have a better season but it was Barcelona academy product Ansu Fati who dominated the discussion on young players to watch out for in 2020-21.

Tebas said Fati could be the league’s next marquee. “I think he will. And it has nothing to do with what he did yesterday. He was referring to Fati being Spain’s youngest goalscroer at 17 years and 311 days, breaking a record that had stood since 1925.

La Liga begins on Friday with Granada hosting Athletic Bilbao behind closed doors. There will no spectators allowed till the population is innoculated, said Tebas, adding that he did not hope for it to happen before January or February 2021.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Dhiman Sarkar is based in Kolkata with over two decades as a sports journalist. He writes mainly on football.

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