August 5 – Spanish telecommunications company Telefonica will not be renewing its sponsorship deals with premium Spanish football brands Barcelona, Real Madrid or the national team.
The decision marks a change in Telefonica strategy and may also reflect the changing competitive landscape of broadcast media deals as clubs in particular build their own channels and content distribution platforms. Telefonica is switching away from sponsorship to an increased focus on broadcast production and transmission through its Movistar streaming service.
Telefonica will spend more than €4 billion on its broadcast expansion over the next three years.
The Spanish telecoms giant has long been a leader in streaming sports content and recently acquired he Spanish broadcast rights for the Champions League, Europa League and LaLiga. The money from the sponsorships will be ploughed into the broadcast rights buy.
Telefonica brand Movistar was one of the Spanish national team’s three top-tier sponsors in an estimated €8 million a year deal that was extended in 2017 until the end of the Russia 2018 World Cup. Telefonica had been a sponsor partner of the RFEF since 2012.
The Barcelona sponsorship was signed in February 2015 and saw Telefonica became a regional sponsor in Latin America in €13 million three-year deal. In February 2017, a 17-month deal with Real Madrid worth €10 million per year pro rata, saw Telefonica become the club’s connecting partner and Global Sponsor.
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