La Liga matches may soon be played in the USA and China. A proposal will be discussed with league’s 20 clubs. If all goes well, Spain’s football authorities will gear up to shift some of the La Liga games to foreign grounds.
La Liga president Javier Tebas has reportedly confirmed discussions with the clubs, as the Top Division is looking for greater financial revenues from international audiences, including broadcasting and sponsorship deals. “La Liga is global entertainment and we want to grow [the league’s] international appeal,” Tebas is quoted as telling the Financial Times. “As part of that effort we are discussing the option of playing some of the league matches outside of Spain.”
Regular season La Liga matches could potentially be held abroad, most likely in the USA or China, as soon as next year.
US-based promoter Relevent Sports is believed to have pitched the idea of overseas league games to several football leagues. “The future is to do official [league] games in the US, China and other places,” Relevent chairman Charlie Stillitano has said at an event recently. “There are leagues that are talking to us about potentially doing something in the future.”
However, Premier League had to shelve its controversial “39th game” initiative after widespread opposition. Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore had earlier this year said that presently there were no plans to stage league matches abroad. “There is no [current] plan to do it. The clubs would like to do it but we are also realistic that says until the reaction is any more warm, it won’t happen,” he has said. “If it did, it wouldn’t be a 39th game … but there is no prospect of it happening any time soon. We have no time set for it but I am a man of belief. I thought it was the right thing to do, I still do.”
Playing regular season games abroad has proved a success for the NFL, with 16 games held at Wembley Stadium since 2007 and five more scheduled to be played overseas in 2017 – at Wembley, Twickenham and Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca. The NBA have held games at London’s O2 Arena. Major League Baseball also has similar plans.
Europe’s major football leagues have yet to arrange fixtures overseas, although the Supercoppa Italiana – Italy’s version of the Community Shield –has been played in the USA, China and Qatar.