The session was opened and moderated by Marcel Enrich, Corporate partner at Pérez-Llorca, and the speakers were Álvaro Gómez de la Vega, Sports Legal Manager at RCD Espanyol, Íñigo Tassara de León, Director de Investment Banking at JB Capital Markets, and Pedro Caro Carvajal, Director for Spain at Rights and Media Funding Ltd.
Álvaro Gómez de la Vega began his presentation by analysing the evolution of the sports sector in Spain, the significance of the creation of public limited sports companies on this sector and the well-known “Bosman Case”. Pedro Caro Carvajal went on to outline the historic evolution of the commercialisation of audiovisual rights in football, concluding that the current situation is characterised by the sector’s high stability, professionalisation and growth, which whets investors’ appetites and allows for more stable financing.
With respect to the international market, Gómez de la Vega explained the importance of the financial fair play regulations that football clubs are subject to, and which have been key to achieving greater regulation of the sector, limiting and controlling teams’ economic losses and increasing investors’ security. On European markets, Caro Carvajal signalled that without a doubt the strongest and most attractive market for financiers is the United Kingdom, followed by Spain.
The most common types of investment in sport
Next, Marcel Enrich asked the speakers about the most common types of investment in the sports sector. In this respect, Íñigo Tassara de León highlighted the role of football clubs’ listings on the stock exchange in neighbouring countries, a resource which, although it is yet to be applied in Spain, we are likely to see in the near future. The speakers continued to discuss different financing transactions, agreeing that the most widely used type of financing at the moment is non-recourse financing based on television rights, and, in recent years, credit rights arising from the transfer of players. This is because clubs are looking to fund themselves through financing structures that allow them to increase liquidity without affecting their financial quality.
To conclude, the directors went into depth about the new types of investment that have arisen over the last few years and the main financing trends, with a special focus on the financing of football clubs through naming rights and all kinds of credit rights, such as those which can be derived from sponsorship contracts, ticketing and VIP earnings. Likewise, they highlighted the importance of video games and football academies as two sources of financing that have been gaining more and more weight and relevance in the sector.
The event ended with an Q&A session directed by Marcel Enrich.