Media group Sky has lost the rights to screen matches from Spain's top soccer league La Liga in the U.K. and Ireland to television group Eleven Sports, dealing a blow to a company that is currently the subject of a bidding war between Fox and Comcast.
For the last two decades, Spanish football has been shown live on Sky television, but the broadcaster lost out on the rights to screen the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid from this summer until the end of the 2020/21 season.
Full details of how Eleven Sports plans to screen the matches have yet to be made clear, as the company currently doesn't have a television channel in the U.K or Ireland. However, it has been suggested that matches could be streamed online or even offered back to Sky, which would then televise games as a secondary broadcaster.
Losing rights to La Liga, which is one of the most popular European soccer leagues, marks a setback for Sky, which retained the rights to broadcast the Premier League in the U.K. and Ireland for three more years, paying less on a per-game basis than it did in the previous round.
Sky has also emerged as an attractive investment opportunity for U.S. media companies looking to grow overseas. Last month, Comcast submitted a 22 billion pound ($30.7 billion) for Sky, exerting pressure on Fox, which already owns a 39% stake in Sky to up its 10.75 pounds per share cash offer it first announced in December 2016.