Barca Messi step up as LaLiga shut a € 2.7 billion deal


7:16 p.m. ET

  • Sam Marsden

  • Moises Llorens

Barcelona's offer to register Lionel Messi's new deal with LaLiga was bolstered after the league announced a € 2.7 billion ($ 3.2 billion) cash injection on Wednesday.

LaLiga has generally agreed to sell 10% of a newly formed company, which contains the majority of its business, to private equity firm CVC Capital Partners. The sale has already been approved by the league's executive committee, which includes representatives from Atletico Madrid, Villarreal and Real Sociedad, among others.

– La Liga on ESPN +: Stream live matches and replays (US only)

The next step is to have the clubs vote for the deal at a general meeting held as soon as possible and in the next few weeks.

Around 90% of the money goes directly to Spanish clubs, including women's football, semi-professional and non-professional football. It's a loan that is repayable over a significant number of years, but a source said the clubs are "thrilled" as it is helping them out of a financial black hole caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Another source suggested that Barca and Real Madrid will each receive over € 250m each based on the protocol for access to the funds.

"It will be distributed according to the contributions clubs have received since centralizing audiovisual rights in 2015, a key moment in promoting LaLiga," said a league source. "It doesn't take into account a specific moment, but the average situation of the clubs over the past seven years."

However, the league's source added that the purpose of the cash injection is to build for the future, with the league requiring clubs to commit to a plan that focuses on developing their physical infrastructure and brands.

Clubs must spend at least 70% of the money on investments related to long-term growth, 15% to refinance their debts and 15% can be used to increase their league-imposed spending limits.

Barca's spending limit has been in free fall since the outbreak of the pandemic, rising from more than 600 million euros in 2019-20 to an estimated 200 million euros for the upcoming campaign. However, the league's source confirmed Wednesday's deal will see the limits "slightly updated".

Lionel Messi is a free agent after the end of his Barcelona contract. Photo by JOSEP LAGO / AFP via Getty Images

There is an agreement on a new deal with Messi, who has been a free agent since his last contract expired on June 30, as ESPN announced in July, under the LaLiga financial rules.

They also need to cut their wages in order to register signings Sergio Agüero, Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia and Emerson Royal for the new season.

A source at Barcelona said they hope to finalize Messi's new terms ahead of Sunday's Joan Gamper Trophy when they face Juventus and that Thursday "could be a key day".

The money will also be welcomed by Real Madrid and the other top clubs in Spain who are fighting the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and playing games behind closed doors.

LaLiga is calling the project "Boost LaLiga," with a source from the league saying they hope it will help the competition bridge the gap with the English Premier League over the next decade.

The combination with CVC provides for the creation of a new company into which LaLiga will bring all of its businesses, subsidiaries and joint ventures and in which CVC will have a minority stake of approximately 10%.

In addition, CVC provides LaLiga funds through a participant account, a long-term arrangement that aligns the interests of LaLiga, the clubs and CVC. In this new company, LaLiga will retain all of its sporting tasks as well as the organization and management of the audiovisual rights sales.

"The transaction values ​​LaLiga at 24.25 billion euros, a price that recognizes LaLiga's leadership role as one of the most prominent sports competitions in the world," the league said in a statement.

Italy's Serie A clubs earlier this year struggled against a 10% media rights deal with CVC Capital Partners, which would have been worth $ 2 billion for that league. In May, ESPN signed an eight-year agreement with LaLiga covering the English and Spanish language broadcasting rights in the United States. The deal starts this month.

Rodrigo Faez contributed to this report.


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