Real Madrid sell their internet image rights

By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw

It has been reported that Real Madrid have sold their Internet Image Rights in a deal with the US Company Providence Equity Partners worth US$700 million over ten years.

The US Company already owns 25% of the MLS Internet Image Rights.

The President of Real Madrid, Florentino Perez, has been keen to do this deal, following Real Madrid losing to Manchester United its number one position, which the club has held for the past 11 years, as the most valuable football club in the world, as shown in the recent Deloitte’s Football Money League Report.

Furthermore, Real Madrid have fallen to third place behind their avowed rivals Barcelona. The respective figures from Deloitte’s, for the season 2015-2016, are as follows:

Manchester United – £515.3 million;

Barcelona – £463.8 million; and

Real Madrid – £463.8 million.

Perez is up for re-election as President of Real Madrid, at the end of the present season and he is banking on this Image Rights deal to secure a positive result for him and restore the club’s primacy in the football world’s financial rankings.

It seems that Image Rights represent a hitherto untapped source of additional income for leading Spanish football clubs. As such, it may be expected that other Image Rights deals by other Spanish teams in ‘La Liga’ will follow the example of Real Madrid, in the foreseeable future.

Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw is an International Sports Lawyer, Academic, Author and Member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He may be contacted by e-mail at ‘ian.blackshaw@orange.fr’.