The LaLiga president brought the opening day of the World Football Summit in Madrid to a close with a talk on the future of the professional football industry.
Spanish football was well represented at the event, with Atletico Madrid CEO, Miguel Angel Gil; D. Alaves president, Alfonso Fernandez; CD Leganes president, Maria Victoria Pavon; former players David Belenguer and Cesar Sanchez, the latter of whom is now serving as a LaLiga ambassador; and ex-referee Cesar Muñiz Fernandez, amongst others, all in attendance.
The LaLiga president’s talk centred mainly on comparing Europe’s biggest leagues and highlighting the work undertaken by LaLiga to date and the direction it should take moving forward: “It’s very important that our product offer real quality. We’ve taken great steps on that front. We’ve begun a new process which will focus on LaLiga’s international expansion over the next few years. Our strategy is aimed at enhancing LaLiga’s value.”
Tebas explained that the Premier League earns some €2.3 billion more than LaLiga from television revenues, the upshot of which, he argued, is that Spain faces “a high risk of losing our top world-class talents.” “That is a key strategic consideration. The takeaway is that we need to be able to sell our competition’s brand better. The Premier League banks more than LaLiga both domestically and internationally. There is a bigger population over there and they have more than 15 million pay-TV subscribers in England, whereas we’ve got five million. They’ve got 10 million domestic viewers following the football every weekend. We’ve got to increase the number of subscribers in Spain,” he went on.
LaLiga’s efforts to pursue international development and expand its brand globally have seen the organisation open offices in the United States, the United Arab Emirates, South Africa, India, Nigeria and China. Tebas was adamant that this expansion must continue apace in order for LaLiga to stay competitive – “I’m convinced that we’ve got to grow [substantially] in the next four years,” he said – and he remarked on the important role that investment funds have the potential to play for Spanish football on this score. He then returned to the subject of television, cautioning, by way of a conclusion, that, “If we don’t bump up our TV ratings, the value of the product will drop because the stars will leave.