La Liga brings boost to Spanish economy

La Liga is so lucrative it is set to double its contribution to Spain's economy, reaching almost two per cent of the country's GDP by 2019, a Doha conference heard Tuesday.

La Liga brings boost to Spanish economy
Real Madrid celebrates La Liga win on Sunday. Photo: AFP

The global impact of stars such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, and their clubs Barcelona and Real Madrid, means the game will account for a predicted 1.63 percent of Spain's gross domestic product in two years' time.   

Currently it is worth around 0.75 percent, Alfredo Lorenzo, La Liga's security director said.

“We expect to double the figures by 2019,” he told the World Stadium Congress in Qatar.

“There's been a huge transformation in professional football in Spain, we are investing in many ways.”

If Spain's 2015 GDP figure of $1.19 trillion, as calculated by the World Bank, is the same in 2019, it would mean Spain's top two divisions — La Liga and La Liga 2 — generating almost $20 billion (€18 billion).

In the past few years La Liga has pushed hard to raise its global profile.

TV rights have been sold to every country in the world, except four — Papua New Guinea, Mongolia, North Korea and Russia — added Lorenzo.    

An estimated global audience of 650 million tuned in to watch football's biggest domestic clash, last month's El Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid.

La Liga's “global network” also has offices in more than 50 countries worldwide.

“International expansion is one of the important elements. We want to be number one in the world,” he said.

“We want to be a world class competition, fighting with the NBA, Formula One and the Premier League.”

La Liga also tries to “engage with fans” through social media such as WhatsApp and developments such as eSports and gaming, said Lorenzo.    

Spanish football administrators have previously said La Liga wants a global television audience of three billion people by the end of the 2017/2018 season, doubling the amount that tuned in during 2015/16.

READ MORE In pics: Wild celebrations as Real Madrid win title 

The aggressive push to build-up worldwide audiences was behind the league's decision to change kick-off times for Barcelona and Madrid in the season just completed.

One of the “big two” plays every week at 4.15pm local time on a Saturday, an unconventional time to stage a football match in Spain.  

The move is designed to maximise Asian TV viewers as well as compete with the English Premier League, which has some three billion viewers tuning in globally.

Spain's economy has shown signs of a rebound in recent times as the country recovers from a damaging crisis marked by sky-high unemployment.  

Figures published in April showed GDP expanded by 0.8 percent between January and March from the previous three months.

By David Harding / AFP


Spain’s middle-class youngsters the most likely to end up poor across all EU

Spain leads the ranking of EU countries with the highest risk of young people ending up in poverty as adults, despite coming from families without economic difficulties.

Spain is the fourth EU country with the highest inherited poverty
Spain is EU country with most middle-class young people who end up poor. Photo: Jaime ALEKOS / AFP

Spain is also the fourth EU country with the highest rate of inherited poverty risk, according to Eurostat, the EU Statistical Office.

Data on intergenerational poverty indicates that there is a correlation between the financial situation of the household you grew up in and the risk of being poor when you reach adulthood and in Spain, there is a strong link. 

The latest statistics available from 2019 show that the at-risk-of-poverty rate for the EU was 23 percent among adults aged 25 to 59 who grew up in a poor financial situation at home when they were 14 years old. This is 9.6 percentage points more than those who come from families without financial problems (13.4 percent). 

READ ALSO: Spain’s inflation soars to 29-year high

How the situation in Spain compares with the EU

Spain has become the EU country with the highest risk of poverty among adults who grew up in families with a good financial situation  – 16.6 percent.

This was followed by Latvia with 16 percent and Italy with 15.9 percent.

That statistics also show the countries where it is less likely to be poor after growing up in households without economic difficulties. These include the Czech Republic (5.9 percent), Slovakia (7.9 percent) and Finland (8.5 percent).

The overall poverty rate in the EU decreased by 0.1 percentage points between 2011 (13.5 percent) and 2019 (13.4 percent), but the largest increases were seen in Denmark (1.9 points more), Portugal (1.8 points), the Netherlands (1.7 points) and Spain (1.2 points).  

On the other hand, the biggest decreases in the poverty rate were seen in Croatia (-4 percent), Lithuania (-3.6 percent), Slovakia (-3.5 percent) and Ireland (-3.2 percent).

READ ALSO: Spain’s government feels heat as economic recovery lags

Inherited poverty

The stats revealed that Spain was also the fourth country with the highest rate of inherited poverty risk (30 percent), only behind Bulgaria (40.1 percent), Romania (32.7 percent) and Italy (30.7 percent).

This means that children of poor parents in Spain are also likely to be poor in adulthood. 

The countries with the lowest rate of inherited poverty risk were the Czech Republic (10.2 percent), Denmark (10.3 percent) and Finland (10.5 percent).

The average risk-of-poverty rate for the EU increased by 2.5 percentage points between 2011 (20.5 percent) and 2019 (23 percent), with the largest increases seen in Bulgaria (6 points more), Slovakia and Romania (4.3 points), Italy (4.2 points) and Spain (4.1 points).

The biggest drops were seen in Latvia (-8.5 points), Estonia (-8.0 points) and Croatia (-2.3 points). 

The largest gaps in people at risk of poverty when they reach adulthood were in Bulgaria (27.6 percentage points more among those who belong to families with a poor economic situation as teenagers compared to those who grew up in wealthy households), Romania (17.1), Italy (14.8), Greece (13.5) and Spain (13.4).