La Liga must close TV ratings gap with Premier League - Javier Tebas
La Liga needs to close the TV ratings gap with the Premier League or risk looking like the Spanish basketball league in the shadow of the global-giant NBA, league president Javier Tebas warned.
Tebas, speaking during the 2016 World Football Summit in Madrid, said that the Premier League earns €2.3billion (£2.06bn) more than La Liga from just television revenues.
He warned that the Spanish competition must continue to work toward catching Europe's most profitable competition in an attempt to match its financial strength if it does not want the current gap that exists between them to reach a point of no return.
"If we don't bump up our TV ratings, the value of the product will drop because the stars will leave," Tebas, who earlier this month was named as president of La Liga for four more years, said. "[Spain faces] a high risk of losing our top world-class talent."
Since taking over the post in 2013, he has worked on strengthening the finances for its 42 first- and second-division teams. His current focus is on international expansion to enhance La Liga's value.
"If we don't [grow in the next four years], the Premier League will be like the NBA and La Liga like the ACB [Spain's top basketball league]," he said.
"We need to be able to sell our competition's brand better. The Premier League banks more than La Liga both domestically and internationally," he said. "There is a bigger population over there and they have more than 15 million pay-TV subscribers in England, whereas we've got five million.
"They've got 10 million domestic viewers following football every weekend. We've got to increase the number of subscribers in Spain."
During his first term, Tebas also oversaw the centralisation of television broadcasting rights in Spanish football, which has allowed the selling of combined rights of all La Liga teams.
The move has brought about a significant increase in domestic rights sale which follows the equal distribution model set by the Premier League.
Before this deal, Spain's top division clubs could negotiate their individual TV deals.
La Liga announced last December that it had agreed a domestic TV deal worth a minimum of €2.65bn ($2.8bn, £1.86bn) for the next three seasons.
La Liga have opened offices in the United States, the United Arab Emirates, South Africa, India, Nigeria and China in the hope of expanding internationally.
Tebas said La Liga have made efforts to make their product more appealing, including introducing aerial cameras in several stadiums.
"It's very important that our product offer real quality," Tebas said. "We've taken great steps on that front."
The World Football Summit, which sees football clubs, companies, national and international institutions take part, concludes on Friday.
Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.