El Clasico must cater for fans in Asia and United States, says LaLiga chief Tebas
LaLiga president Javier Tebas believes compromises must be made regarding El Clasico kick-off times to cater for viewers in Asia and the United States.
Since Tebas' appointment in April 2013, LaLiga fixtures have been staggered in an attempt to maximise viewing figures across the globe.
The decision to stage matches on Mondays led to protests from supporters, forcing the Spanish Football Federation (SFF) to intervene earlier this year and scrap games taking place on that day.
And Tebas suffered another blow when the clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona was moved from Saturday October 26 to Wednesday December 18, with kick-off scheduled for 8pm CET.
That means viewers in Asia staying up into the early hours of the morning on a midweek day, but Tebas insists the high-profile fixture should have been rescheduled with a foreign audience in mind.
"Of the two Clasicos there are in a season, one should always be so people in Asia can watch without being asleep and the other should always be so people in the US can watch without being asleep," he told The Guardian.
"It is important to recognise that the followers of Spanish football are not just people who live in Spain.
"We must also respect the fans who are in Asia and the Americas – they are also contributing because they pay for their TV subscriptions, which in turn allows the clubs to pay big stars and helps turns LaLiga into a global product."
Tebas is taking a forward-thinking approach as part of his plans for LaLiga to overtake the Premier League as the most lucrative division in the world.
"Our cumulative global audience figure is more than 3.2billion but what that means is hard to say given the concept of an audience is changing," he said.
"Now it is also about 'users' and the minutes they are consuming your content. It could be people who are watching LaLiga matches but it could also be people who are watching highlights on another device.
"This is a growing trend and why, as well as working to grow our audience, we are working towards having more users.
"I'm convinced in 10 years nobody will be taking about audience figures – instead we'll be taking about users."