La Liga to US? Domestic Spanish Soccer to Go Stateside

  • Spain’s big two, Real and Barca, are heading to the US for some La Liga games
  • Financial struggles have pushed Spanish giants Barcelona to the financial brink
  • EPL CEO Richard Masters has alluded to some EPL games heading Stateside too
Raphinha playing for Barcelona
Some La Liga games could soon head stateside as Spanish soccer teams struggle with financial hardship. [Image:]

Failed Euro Super League

The failure of the European Super League (ESL) to come to fruition was a blow to most of Europe’s elite soccer teams but for some it was a bigger blow than others. Ultimately, it is why big changes are afoot in Spain’s La Liga.

we can expect to see some of Spain’s domestic soccer to be played overseas

In the next couple of years, we can expect to see some of Spain’s domestic soccer to be played overseas – probably in the US.

But why is this happening? And why Spain?

Well, the megabucks TV deals that have seen the English Premier League reach all four corners of the globe, ensures its ‘big six – Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham – are guaranteed to be rolling in cash, ESL or no ESL.

The same, however, cannot be said of Spain’s elite. For some time now, Real Madrid and Barcelona – and to a lesser extent, Atletico Madrid – have been fighting a losing battle to keep their respective heads above water.  

The finances on offer in La Liga – at least for most of the teams – are not comparable to those on offer in the EPL. Their TV deals are based almost entirely around Real Madrid and Barcelona, and so the majority of teams rely majorly on sponsors and the funding of billionaire owners.

Funding an issue for Spain’s big two

But for the big two that was never going to be enough. In recent years, Real Madrid and Barcelona have, for very different reasons, been in dire need of extra finance. Both are always looking at ways to maximize their mega popularity to fund their traditionally lavish spending.    

Catalans have a different funding model: they are fan-funded

For Real the issue has been a relatively simple one – a very expensive need to refurbish an aging and dilapidated Santiago Bernabeu stadium – but for Barca the issues have been, and still are, far more complicated. Unlike the Madrid giants, the Catalans have a different funding model: they are fan-funded.

Barca, even with their unconventional funding model, are still regarded as the fourth-richest club in the world but the pandemic, some poor dealings in the transfer market, and some even poorer financial decisions made at board level have left them in a financial mess.

So much so, they have had their ability to purchase new players hindered by a transfer embargo. This meant that coach Xavi has been forced to bring through Barca academy players as opposed to spending big on superstars as Real Madrid have continued to do.

Barcelona will soon be dispensing of the services of Xavi

It was therefore no surprise that the Catalans were unable to challenge Los Blancos for this season’s Spanish title, which was wrapped up three weeks ago. But, nevertheless, it does also look as if Barcelona will soon be dispensing with the services of Xavi despite all of the obstacles he has had to overcome.   

La Liga at a crossroads

In short, Spanish soccer is at a crossroads. Those outside the big three – if we include Atletico Madrid – are struggling for funding and rely heavily on the financial boost that comes with two games a season against the giants of Spanish soccer. Yet, said giants of Madrid and Barcelona are also struggling to make the money needed to operate at their current levels.

This is why when, a few weeks ago, La Liga president Javier Tabas spoke of his plan to ‘export’ some regular season games to the US, no-one was in the least bit surprised. He alluded to this happening as early as 2025-26 and spoke of “other competitive leagues” looking to do something similar.    

So, again, it was no big shock when NBC – the English Premier League’s US broadcaster – was rumored to be renewing its bid to take some EPL games Stateside. This resurfaced rumor tied in with Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters stating that the “door looks ajar” to EPL fixtures being played in the US. He did also admit there are no immediate plans to do so.

In short, it’s only a matter of time before some regular season games from Europe’s top flight make their way across the Pond, in the same way that the NFL European season now has a regular place in the schedule.

And don’t be surprised if La Liga is the first to take the plunge.

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