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Disney-Owned ESPN Scoops Up English And Spanish Language Rights To LaLiga

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isney have signed an eight-year contract with LaLiga, acquiring the English and Spanish language rights to the football competition, with coverage set to commence on ESPN networks from August.

While the financial terms have not been disclosed, sources close to the deal say it is worth USD$175 million (AUD$227 million) per year, churning out USD$1.4 billion (AUD$1.8 billion) across the entirety of the deal.

The broadcast deal, brokered by Relevent Sports Group, stands as the most lucrative United States (US) media rights deal for an overseas football league.

This type announcement is not unusual to Disney in terms of the sporting landscape, with a deal with the National Football League (NFL) accumulating earlier this year for the broadcaster.

Reports suggest Disney executives have been in discussions with LaLiga for some time, despite a deal with Qatar-based beIn Sports not due to expire until 2024.

Per Nielsen cable coverage estimates, the current deal with beIn Sports and its Spanish-language sibling now reach fewer than 15 million traditional viewers and subscribers, in comparison with Disney’s ESPN 83.5 million viewers in the same category.

In the first quarter of 2021, beIn Sports averaged 4 000 viewers daily, making it the second least-watched network on US television, with beIn Sports Español averaging 12 000 viewers in the same period.