LaLiga set for change in strategy with Santander deal – reports

Banking group Santander is set to replace rival BBVA as title sponsor of the top two divisions of Spanish club football, according to multiple reports.

Spanish newspaper El Confidencial said LaLiga, the organising body of the leagues, is set to announce the deal tomorrow (Thursday). Marca added that the agreement will run for three seasons, from 2016-17 to 2018-19.

If a deal is struck it would mark a change of approach from LaLiga. Earlier this month, the organisation said that the top two divisions of Spanish football would be rebranded after confirming it would not seek a title sponsor for the 2016-17 season.

LaLiga and LaLiga2 were set as the official names of the competitions from July 1, the day after the conclusion of a title sponsorship deal with BBVA. The banking group had been a LaLiga partner since the 2006-07 season when the second tier was rebranded as the Liga BBVA. Two years later, the sponsorship agreement was extended, with the top flight renamed the Liga BBVA, while Liga Adelante became the official name for the second division. These versions remained until the end of the 2015-16 campaign.

BBVA was the sponsor for LaLiga for 10 seasons. However, the company confirmed in September that the 2015-16 season would be its last as title sponsor of the Liga and Liga Adelante.

El Confidencial said that under LaLiga’s deal with Santander, the top-tier LaLiga would be known as Liga Santander while LaLiga 2 would be branded as Liga 1,2,3. The newspaper added that Santander’s offer is worth less than the €26m ($28.7m) per season that BBVA previously paid, but said LaLiga has been attracted by the company’s presence in the global financial services market.

Korean electronics giant Samsung and airline Qatar Airways were also reportedly in contention for the contract.