La Liga president reveals proposals to play league and cup games abroad

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Spanish Football League president, Javier Tebas, expects Barcelona, Real Madrid and other La Liga outfits to play league and cup games abroad in the future, reports ESPN FC.

The Spaniard said he will be looking to play Copa del Rey ties and league matches away from Spain following a host of successful preseason tours to America and Asia for many Spanish clubs.

The idea will be to develop markets in Asia, America and Africa in order to increase the profile and revenue that La Liga receives. 


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Barcelona's summer tour to America, which included a high-profile fixture against Manchester United in California, attracted over 70,000 fans. The game ended in defeat for the Catalonian giants.

The current sponsors of Barcelona are Qatar Airlines, based in the host nation for the 2022 World Cup. There is a possibility that games might be played there before the event to try and boost the popularity of the sport within the nation and the rest of the Middle East.

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Real Madrid appeared similarly keen to bolster their worldwide image after they competed in three different continents over the summer, in which they beat Manchester City and AC Milan in Australia and China respectively.

The tours are seen as a chance to advertise new merchandise to their worldwide fan base, including kits and new sponsorship deals, and increase awareness of their brand on social media. 

Such tournaments have proved extremely important to the top clubs that have images to maintain as a global brand. The increased fans and coverage from around the world can be massive boost to a team's revenue, which has been difficult for Spanish football to compete with given the Premier League's recent TV deal, worth £5.1 billion.

Playing games abroad has already proven fruitful in boosting the profile of various other sports. The NFL currently play a select number of matches at Wembley in London, and have agreed a partnership with Tottenham Hotspur from 2018 to play at least two matches a year at their new stadium for ten years.

The stadium, which is yet to be built, will have a retractable roof and an astroturf pitch that can be put in place for NFL games. Since American football came to Wembley, it has grown in popularity within the UK and globally, expanding its fanbase considerably.

Tebas believes that La Liga can reap the same benefits, with the profiles of Real Madrid and Barcelona able to entice fans from around the world. There is a platform for which La Liga can expand - something which needs to happen in order to compete financially with the Premier League. 

Although the proposals make economic sense, there may be discontent domestically. Fans are unlikely to be happy about the prospect of not being able to attend their team's matches, whilst matches like 'el Classico' hold such sentimental value to their supporters that they would not be happy to see it played away from the Bernabeu or Nou Camp. 

Tebas faces a challenge to keep supporters happy, then, but money speaks volumes, and it's therefore likely that, in the near future, such proposals will go ahead.

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