REJOICE, football fans – La Liga returns this week.
Home to some of the most attacking teams in Europe, the Spanish t0p-flight never fails to entertain but fans in the UK were worried they’d be unable to watch this season after Eleven Sports lost the rights.
Eleven Sports had the coverage last season with a three-year deal but after struggling to generate enough subscribers La Liga undertook a new auction of rights 12 months on.
Is La Liga on UK TV this season?
ITV have stepped in at the last minute and La Liga will be shown on UK screens this summer.
And in a good move for all football fans, the games will be free-to-air on ITV.
The first match of the season sees Barcelona travel to face Athletic Bilbao on Friday, August 16 and the game will be live on ITV4.
But ITV’s deal only covers around one game per week – with the full rights still up for grabs.
After Eleven Sports’ disastrous showing last year, the complete TV rights are once again open to companies across the UK.
Premier Sports have already declared they have submitted a bid, while Sky Sports and BT Sport are expected to have tried their luck.
The La Liga head of communications, Joris Evers has claimed they have had interest, but no offers were to their liking.
He said: “After assessing all bids from participation bidders, La Liga has declared the tender null and void because no satisfactory bids were received.”
The ongoing issue over the scheduling of matches, many interested parties would have been put off or unwilling to offer big as even fans and clubs still do not have a fixed fixture list.
Meanwhile, live streaming services appear to be avoiding it, following Eleven Sports’ lack of subscribers last season.
The rights are expected to be sold, but there is no date for when this will be, nor has bidding been reopened.
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Who has held the La Liga TV rights in the past?
Sky Sports was considered the home of La Liga football in the UK for around 20 years.
But they did not want to splash out £18m a year to continue their deal with the league from the 2018/19 season.
That saw the rights offered around for the first time in two decades and online streaming service Eleven Sports picked up the tender.
Founded by Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani, it also took over the television allocation for Eredivisie in Holland and Italy’s Serie A in what was supposed to be a new age for football on the big screen.
But it failed to bring in enough subscribers to warrant the cost of purchasing the rights.
This saw other television channels like Premier Sports and ITV take rights for Serie A and La Liga from them during the season, with the contract voided at the end of the campaign.