La Liga have a problem when it comes to making their football available to Spanish fans.
Even with the loss of Lionel Messi, La Liga continues to be one of the most watched and exciting leagues on the planet.
The presence of Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona continue to attract supporters from all over the world, while the proceeds displayed by clubs Rayo Vallecano in Villarreal and Celta Vigo in Sevilla week after week make that the Spanish Primera a division worth settling.
And if you are a La Liga fan from other parts of the world, you are offered cheap and easy access to see the football you love.
In the UK you can pay just £ 6.99 for La Liga TV with Premier Sports or Amazon Prime and see the vast majority of games, as well as a wide variety of La Liga content throughout the week.
In the US, thanks to a new ESPN deal, fans can only pay ESPN + $ 6.99 to watch matches, and commentary is available in English and Spanish.
Both countries make it easy for fans to stream online, and if they wish to cancel after a month, they are free to do so.
Brilliant! Where can I register ? Oh wait, I live in Spain.
As is too often the case in football, fans who live in the country where football is actually played are forced to jump through more hoops than anyone else to watch their team.
And this is absolutely the case in Spain. In fact, La Liga fans are getting one of the worst deals of all.
Unlike other countries where football is generally offered in addition to a TV package or an online subscription, Spanish supporters are forced to purchase long mobile phone and / or WIFI packages to watch their team.
Movistar, owned by Telefonica, is the main La Liga broadcaster in Spain, and their cheapest package to watch La Liga is currently € 105 per month.
This will also allow you to get a phone and WIFI contract, and there is no option to buy the soccer ball without these other items.
Orange TV also offers a similar package, but at a slightly reduced price of € 95 per month.
By comparison, the cheapest Sky and Sky Sports package available to fans in the UK is currently £ 41 (€ 48.60), and this package offers 128 live Premier League matches per season, as well as other sports.
In the past, La Liga have made deals with TV companies to stream football for less than the packages offered by mobile phone companies, but no such deal has been made for this season.
And the ticket prices didn’t help the supporters either.
Spanish home fans without a subscription will pay an average of € 39.57 for a ticket over the next two days, based on the prices of the 14 clubs with tickets available for the next two matches.
This is more than the average set by the Premier League (€ 37.93) and Serie A (€ 33) clubs compared to the latest figures available, which date from the 2019/20 season, and these prices do not include not Real Madrid or Sevilla, which do not have tickets available.
Real Betis charge £ 65 for their cheapest ticket against newly promoted Rayo Vallecano this weekend, while Getafe club’s cheapest adult ticket costs € 40.
Espanyol charges € 50 per ticket, while home tickets for Athletic Club, Real Sociedad, Barcelona and Cadiz all exceed the € 40 mark.
It must also be said, there are also reasonable prices, and hats off to Atletico Madrid, Osasuna, Rayo Vallecano, Valencia and Mallorca for offering tickets at € 30 or less.
A special mention also in Elche, which offers tickets from € 15.
But for too many La Liga fans in Spain, football is too expensive to attend in person and nearly impossible to watch on TV.
Fans have heard so much about the La Liga war on piracy amid illegal broadcasts, but fans are forced to use illegal streams and VPNs to see the teams they love.
Of course, the leagues want more fans inside the stadiums than watching football on TV, and that argument could spread to the UK where the furthest day is around seven hours in the car.
But that just doesn’t work in Spain, a country too big to expect significant participation in away games, or even to expect home fans living outside their regions to make moves. potentially gigantic trips week after week.
In a post-pandemic, and even post-Messi La Liga world, the league needs to be more accessible than ever to develop their product in Spain, and if you need more proof, just head to Camp Nou. It was less than half full for Barcelona’s victory over Valencia last weekend.
Instead, La Liga is closed to the fans who follow it the most passionately, the fans who witness it and talk about it over coffee and a bocadillo the next day, the fans who, quite simply, the do what it is.
The now famous La Liga ad hits him on the head.
“The fans are going football crazy,” said the young La Liga fan boy in the announcement. “They don’t just watch the game, they feel it.”
The simple message to La Liga? “So let them watch it… let them feel it.”