La Liga Santander’s anticipated return on 11 June saw international viewership increase by over 48 per cent for matchday 28, compared to the average matchday figures prior to the competition’s suspension.
Specifically, European viewership garnered an increase of over 56 per cent on matchday 28, which featured the likes of Mallorca vs Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao vs Atlético Madrid, and Real Madrid vs Eibar from the 11-14 June.
La Liga president Javier Tebas stated: “At Liga we feel privileged to be able to take to the field again, and we’re very happy to have the opportunity to offer live sports entertainment at a time when there are few events like this around the world. We hope that other competitions in other regions will also start soon, because it’s important for the fans and the industry.
“We’re grateful to all of the fans who’ve followed LaLiga now at the restart, because we’ve all worked hard to offer them entertainment again.”
The viewership, which is according to international consultants Nielsen Sports and based on the preliminary official viewing figures and estimates by the firm, also saw a meteoric rise in Africa (73 per cent), whilst South Africa specifically increased by more than 210 per cent.
In recent years La Liga has adapted its international strategy in an attempt to break into the Asian market. One such initiative was the competition’s agreement with Facebook to broadcast La Liga in India in 2018, with the ease of accessibility to the tournament its viewership also saw a significant rise of 72 per cent.
Oscar Mayo, La Liga’s director of business, marketing and international development, added: “We’re very pleased with the exponential growth in the figures for LaLiga’s international audience. We knew that fans around the world were keen to enjoy the excitement and entertainment we offer. Achieving a rise of almost 50 per cent in our international audience is a reflection of the hard work put in by our international broadcasters, the clubs and the competition itself over these last few months.”
Additionally, the competition’s growth in fans didn’t just occur internationally with Spanish viewership showing a 12 per cent increase, compared to its last matchday before the virus. SportPro Media reported that collectively Spain’s top division garnered 4.5m domestic TV viewers, with the most popular game being Real Madrid’s clash which totalled 851,607.
Insider Insight: The sudden increase in La Liga viewership internationally is not a massive surprise considering the Bundesliga was the only other ‘top 5’ European league currently broadcasting. However, the increase will certainly be welcomed by the organisation with the priority now shifting on retaining these viewers following the Premier League’s return and Serie A’s commencement on 20 June.