LaLiga’s general assembly approved a modified $2.4 billion private equity deal with CVC Capital Partners, with 38 of the 42 clubs in Spanish soccer’s first two divisions voting to accept the proposal.
LaLiga’s top clubs—Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, as well as an unidentified club from the second division—rejected the measure, which calls for forming a new commercial entity of which CVC will own a 10% stake for 50 years. The deal valued the league at $28.5 billion.
Javier Tebas, the president of LaLiga, said at a Thursday press conference that the deal was modified in the face of club complaints over control of broadcast revenues. According to Tebas, CVC decided to allow individual clubs to opt out of the new CVC-LaLiga entity, called “Boost LaLiga,” and retain their share of the broadcasting revenues. The investment, originally set to be $3.2 billion, is now likely to total $2.4 billion after excluding the amounts that would have gone to the four clubs who voted against the deal.
“They [Barcelona]could really use that $275 million,” Javier Tebas said when asked over Zoom whether teams who opposed the deal will receive any funding from the CVC investment.
Clubs who sign on to the deal and take the money will do so under specific conditions relating to infrastructure and technology investment, as well as debt restructuring, according to Tebas.
“It was mostly Real Madrid and FC Barcelona who were not interested in creating a better league,” Tebas said. “These big clubs want to control everything.”
Contrary to what Spain’s two biggest clubs alleged, “We did not sell the broadcast rights to CVC,” Tebas said. “They are only going to get a percentage of the broadcast rights.”
Tebas said the CVC’s funding would be crucial to investments in the smaller clubs’ infrastructure, which will allow them to grow. “CVC did not come here to help us get out of the pandemic-related losses,” he said. “This is about investing in our future.”
On Wednesday, Reuters reported that New York-based investment firm Goldman Sachs agreed to contribute a €1 billion ($1.17 billion) syndicated loan to the venture.
Resistance to the deal grew in the week since it was announced. Barcelona’s president referenced it in the decision to not re-sign Lionel Messi. Real Madrid threatened legal action. The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) sent a statement calling the investment fund “illegal” and “appalling.”
According to the RFEF’s statement, the federation received “various complaints and comments” from first and second division clubs voicing their opposition to the CVC deal. Tebas replied over Twitter with sarcasm, blaming the organization for backing up the short-lived Super League.
RFEF’s statement came after Real Madrid’s announcement that it planned to take the matter to court. “Real Madrid’s statement was to threaten us; they tried to scare us,” Tebas said Thursday. “They can delay it, but they cannot stop it.”
During last week’s press conference about Messi’s departure, Barcelona president Joan Laporta claimed the deal meant “giving” 10% of media revenues to CVC, which is why he opposed it. The claim remains a sore spot with Tebas. “We did not sell the broadcasting rights!” Tebas insisted during Thursday’s press conference.
The LaLiga president, who will also preside over the new company, said the league was now ready for the season. “We start tomorrow.”