Real Madrid and Legends 'agree' €400m-per-year Bernebeu contract
Real Madrid, the Spanish soccer giants, has agreed a 25-year commercial contract with US sports marketing agency Legends worth an annual €400 million ($453.2 million) to manage non-sporting events at their renovated Santiago Bernabeu stadium, it has been reported.
The agreement will see the LaLiga club and the company launch a new joint venture to stage regular events at the iconic 80,000-seater venue with Legends to receive 20% of the profits, according to Spanish outlet Voz Populi.
The agency will be responsible for arranging events such as music concerts, business trade shows, and conferences at the Bernabeu.
The two parties had been in talks over a contract for several months, with Key Capital, the Spain-based private equity firm, leading the negotiations with Legends on behalf of the club.
The group has close business ties with Real president Florentino Perez and has been a partner in the stadium redevelopment.
Legends has guaranteed the various events will bring in more than €400 million a year and is willing to pay Madrid the difference if this is not achieved.
Perez believes the team could make more than €100 million a year from non-sports events.
The refurbishment of the stadium is scheduled to be completed next year and is costing the club between €800 million and €900 million.
Real is hoping to recoup the huge outlay by staging regular events at the Bernabeu outside of soccer matches with plans for the venue to be open for use 300 days a year.
The club is also keen to host other sports including basketball, tennis, and potentially American football.
There will also be a skywalk around the stadium, with some of Spain's biggest restauranteurs invited to make proposals for those spaces.
New VIP zones will also have over 25,000 square meters to create premium hospitality spaces.
The stadium will feature a retractable roof to stage indoor events, as well as a retractable turf which means the playing surface for the club’s matches will not be affected.
This also expands the stadium’s capacity to around 100,000 for music concerts and other events with standing areas.
Real is projected to bring in €250 million more on annual basis compared to the figures they were bringing in from the Bernabeu pre-pandemic.
Perez is also understood to be keen on potentially staging games in American football’s NFL in the future.
The UK is the only European country in which the NFL has staged games as part of its international games program so far, but it is currently in discussions to add Germany as a new destination.
Real already have an existing relationship with Legends and enlisted the agency in 2020 to run their merchandising operations.
Under the terms of that partnership, Real will launch a new online store, relaunch three official club stores in the Spanish capital, and develop a flagship megastore at the Bernabeu. The new megastore is being built as part of the ongoing redevelopment of the stadium.
Legends additionally reopened three official Real Madrid stores in downtown Madrid.
The firm has worked with Real since 2018 when it was appointed to provide strategic insight and guidance into optimizing commercial opportunities in the redevelopment of the Bernabeu.
Meanwhile, the National Court of Spain has dismissed an appeal by Real to annul the LaLiga television broadcast regulations.
It is the second court loss for the club this month after the Central Court of Administrative Litigation also rejected an appeal against the ruling from the country’s Administrative Court of Sport regarding the league’s audiovisual rights.
In a statement, LaLiga stated that the latest ruling is of "particular significance" because it confirms the agreements adopted by the LaLiga Audiovisual Rights Management Control Body.
Real argued that the marketing, management, and use of audiovisual rights should be the responsibility of the clubs and not LaLiga.
In other developments, streaming services provider Cinedigm has launched Real Madrid TV, the club’s over-the-top in-house TV channel, on Pluto TV, the US free-to-view streaming service owned by media giant ViacomCBS.
The channel will provide viewers in the US with access to Real’s LaLiga, UEFA Champions League and Copa del Rey matches via delayed coverage.
In addition, the streaming channel features full match replays,
player interviews, behind-the-scenes training content, classic games, and other
magazine-style shows, with more than 8,000 hours of content available
Real entered into a partnership with Cinedigm last year to increase their North American presence.
The deal was negotiated on behalf of the LaLiga side by international sports marketing agency Sportfive.
Real Madrid TV, founded in 1999, is already available in Spain, Portugal, Andorra, Mexico, across cable, satellite, and IPTV.