Viacom18 picks up media rights of LaLiga, to telecast matches on MTV India, Voot

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Viacom18, the joint venture between Reliance Industries-owned Network18 and US-based Viacom Inc, has picked up exclusive media rights for Spain’s globally followed football league, LaLiga.

The three-year deal will re-introduce La Liga and clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona to the TV audiences in the country, as the league did not have a broadcast partner for the last two years.

Social network giant Facebook had the rights of the league since 2018, after it outbid Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN).

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Viacom18, which doesn’t have a dedicated sports channel, is planning to live telecast 80 of the 380 matches of LaLiga on its youth channel, MTV, while all the matches will be streamed on OTT service Voot and on Jio platforms.

“LaLiga checks all the boxes for us,” Anshul Ailawadi, business head-youth, music and English entertainment at Viacom18, told ET. “It’s good to have property, has a strong and passionate fan following and the matches are going to be at 9.30 pm India time.”

He added that MTV is looking at reinventing itself and as it is seen as a house of reality, there is nothing more real than live sports.

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“There will be a MTV style campaign with song and dance, but it will be an authentic experience,” he said.

The deal was facilitated by Rise Worldwide (formerly known as IMG Reliance), the sports and lifestyle marketing company of

.

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Oscar Mayo, executive director, LaLiga, said the deal will further bolster the LaLiga fandom to an ever-growing football fan base in India.

“Having set one of the highest standards of football globally and India gaining tremendous momentum, we are confident that we will reach and engage with the youthful audience that MTV as a destination appeals to,” said Mayo.

LaLiga has seen a drop in the popularity and following in India compared to its biggest rival, English Premier League (EPL).

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Some fans blame this on Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit from Real Madrid, which made El Clasico, the high-octane matches between arch-rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona, lacklustre events.

Fans fear that the league may see a further fall if Messi, whose contract with Barcelona ended on June 30th, decides to leave the Catalan club.

The 92nd edition of LaLiga will commence on August 13th and conclude on May 22nd next year.

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Viacom18 will be going all out with a massive marketing and communications campaign to build the fandom and outreach for LaLiga in India.

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