BARCELONA (Reuters) - La Liga president Javier Tebas has reiterated plans to play Spanish top flight games outside of Spain as he continues to plot the league’s global expansion.
“La Liga is global entertainment and we want to grow the international appeal of La Liga,” Tebas said at the Soccerex Global Convention in Manchester, quoted in the Financial Times on Friday.
“As part of that effort we are discussing the option of playing some of the league matches outside of Spain. These discussions are still in early stages, but as La Liga, we support the idea.”
Tebas has overseen the financial growth of La Liga since becoming president in 2013, signing a three-year domestic television rights deal worth 2.65 billion euros in 2016, although the league is still way behind the Premier League, which earns 5.14 billion pounds from its current domestic rights deal, running until 2019.
According to analysis by Deloitte, La Liga ranks third out of Europe’s top leagues in terms of revenue generated, behind the Premier League and the Bundesliga.
La Liga has sought to make up the difference with England and Germany by expanding abroad, opening offices in India, the United States, Dubai, South Africa, Nigeria and China.
In July, 66,000 people filled the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami to watch a friendly between Real Madrid and Barcelona, the first time La Liga’s biggest two sides had met outside Spain since 1982.
The game was organised by the International Champions Cup, owned by promoter Relevent Sports, which has run friendlies between Premier League clubs and other European sides in Asia and the United States for four years.
Relevent’s chairman Charlie Stillitano told the Soccerex convention the company’s next step is to move from organising friendlies to promoting competitive games abroad.
Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Pritha Sarkar