LaLiga did not notice CR's goodbye, but Messi will punish him

"No impact" said Tebas de Cristiano. The Argentine's departure would come at the worst moment: losses due to COVID, closed door, ERTE, negotiating TV contracts ...

The more than likely departure of Messi from Barcelona, after 20 years at the club where he arrived for free, will have an impact at all levels. And LaLiga will not be oblivious to the earthquake, as a competition that fights in the market with other internationals and various elite sports, and in the entertainment industry, as Javier Tebas always likes to call it. Unless the striker ended up in a Spanish team, something unlikely. Above all you will notice it because, despite the fact that its income and its strategies are highly diversified worldwide to counteract swings like these, the news comes at the worst possible time. If Cristiano's departure to Juventus in 2018 had “little or no impact”, in the words of the president of the employer's association himself in an interview last June on RAC1, Messi's will leave a hole or, rather, a sinkhole: "Yes, we would notice it a lot because it continues to give a lot of value to our competition," he said.

The reasons are obvious. Cristiano's departure came at a time of general bonanza and, despite his transfer to Italy, LaLiga had a record of income at all levels (almost 4,500 million). Messi's burofax, however, arrives in the midst of a crisis and his separation will only enlarge the wound. LaLiga has already suffered around 200 million losses in the past season due to the fact of having to paralyze football and, above all, for having to play behind closed doors without the clubs being able to take advantage of the ticketing income, for museums, restaurants and official shops. In addition, he has already internalized that he will not be able to fill the stadiums in many months until there is a vaccine, with the impossibility of getting tickets for sale this summer, and that the influx of public in the stands will be progressive and very slow. To this must be added the different ERTEs that the clubs have taken advantage of, which in some cases such as Málaga are already deriving from ERE, that the market will not move so much (transfer income skyrocketed to 1,018 million per year in the last year) and, worst of all, that the next television contracts will have to be negotiated without the best player in the world as a claim.

LaLiga, initially, intended to enter 2,111 million euros this season for audiovisual rights. However, in the best of cases, it will reach 1,915 since at the moment the employer is responding to some requests (few) to review the possible damages due to the stoppage of the previous season and because the conditions changed on the fly due to causes of force majeure. LaLiga managed to stop the general impact of having to return 25% of the money with the fact of restarting the competition before last June 12, which was when the 100 days of the State of Alarm set as the deadline by the operators to be able to start review the almost 80 television contracts that it has signed in the world. Thanks to this, it will maintain the total income that already places it above the Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue1. But the clubs are aware that the television income ceiling is being reached, of which 53% comes from Spain and 43% from abroad. In this way, the model will have to be reviewed because the most worrying thing, being serious, is not that LaLiga has gone from selling its strengths in the world with Messi, Cristiano and Neymar as flags and, only three years later, it will have to do with Griezmann, Hazard and João Félix questioned; is that neither Madrid nor Barça nor Atlético, the LaLiga locomotives that pull the rest, have for the moment access to the return of Neymar, the signing of Mbappé or the dream of convincing Lewandowski. 444 444The reasons for strengthening the brand

This policy of proper names greatly affects LaLiga's plan in the medium term. Tebas, as farsighted as it is, has already redirected the strategy of the clubs years ago and lately it has been aimed at reinforcing the brand of the competition over the proper names. The push of the Ambassadors and the signings of Casillas and Iniesta as icons has been important, but the impact on social networks, in terms of video playback and advertising revenue will be important without Messi and will slow growth. The League itself recognizes it, although it prefers to wait for events to make a public statement and begin to make numbers of the real impact of Messi's departure. To counteract this, he will continue to influence the idea that competitiveness is greater every day, the title may be more open and Athñetic, Real, Sevilla and Villarreal take another leap in quality to make the championship more contested. However, if Telefónica has already paid 5% less for football from 2019 to 2022 (980 million euros), the forecasts in the event that Messi leaves are pessimistic for the next contracts that the Viana Pact allows to sign today abroad for more seasons and not necessarily for three years. Marc Menchén, director and founder of the portal '2Playbook', specialized in the sports industry, sees it this way: "LaLiga plays with the advantage that it has already renewed most of its contracts of television abroad in the medium and long term, so there will be no option for a downward revision of these contracts. It is true that it loses its own name, and its brand relevance would suffer if Messi arrives at another of the Big Five leagues because it sends a message that the big stars no longer just want to play in Spain. On the other side of the scale, a certain balance of competitiveness could reinforce the idea of a more unpredictable and, therefore, entertaining product. for the fans, breaking the Barça-Madrid duopoly that Messi and Cristiano fed ".

Possible markets

The markets that Messi can go to are the direct competition of LaLiga and at the Torrelaguna headquarters they are waiting. If the Argentine went to the Premier, it would undoubtedly increase his advantage over LaLiga (1,633 million euros of television income from abroad only). And if you go to France and, especially to Italy (the tax reform favors your arrival because the 100 million that it costs Barça annually would stay at 60 according to the calculations of the experts), these are competitions that are currently about to behind LaLiga in the ranks but that could begin to seriously threaten the Spanish competition. LaLiga is based on the fact that there are many indicators to grasp and that indicate that it is working well: its viewers have grown by 11.5% abroad (2.8 billion accumulated in the world throughout the season), the digital community has increased by 25 million (to 115) and has gone from having four sponsors to 42 in seven years. Even so, LaLiga is aware that Messi was the engine and that now we should talk about him in the past. Thebes smelled it. For this reason, when asked by AS in an interview on July 1 about what made him more excited, if the return of Xavi as coach or Neymar as leader of the Camp Nou, he was blunt: "Let Messi continue at Barça."

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