Spanish Football Federation has announced that the final of the 2013 Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) will be played on May 18, the same day as the final of the Eurovision Song Contest and almost at the same time. The decision provides a clear beginning to a debate that will be raging for several weeks.
If we look at it from the standpoint of the audience ratings we are talking about the two events that more spectators provide to TVE every year. If we compare the viewing figures from 2012, the final of the Copa del Rey gathered in front of the television to more than 7.7 million viewers (a market share of 41,9%) while the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest was watched by 6.5 million viewers noting that during Pastora Soler‘s performance it was watched by 8,723,00 viewers.
This kind of football matches usually start at 22:00 CET so its broadcast is not going to be compatible with the Eurovision final. The main problem is not if TVE is going to broadcast the football match or the Eurovision Song Contest final but which one will be aired on La 1, which is the main channel and which one will be relegated to the second channel, La 2, or perhaps to one of the thematic channels that by the way, are not yet available in HD.
This year TVE managed to change the starting time of a friendly football match between Spain and Serbia held at the same date as the Eurovision final but it seems that this time the decision is not in the hands of the broadcaster. The Spanish football federation is not considering moving the final to another date and for now, TVE has not confirmed anything about it.
But do not panic yet. Is worth noting that, as the date of the Eurovision Song Contest final of course is set in stone, is not the case with the final of the Copa del Rey. For example, last year, the proposed date for the final was also a problem because it was just one day after the final of the Champions League, a competition Barcelona FC still had options of winning. Bearing that in mind, Barça asked for the final to be played on May 25 and their request was granted and the date modified.
In the recent history of TVE there have been other cases in which the music has had to find its place among the sport events. For example, remember that in 2009, TVE delayed the Eurovision semi-final broadcast in violation of the rules set forth to the national broadcasters by the EBU because of a tennis match between Fernando Verdasco and Juan Mónaco not allowing to the Spanish viewers to vote for their favorite songs to qualify for the final.
Anyway, before making a decision, TVE should have historical memory because it is not the first time that this bitter coincidence takes place. In 1984, at the same time, while the final of the Copa del Rey between Athletic de Bilbao and FC Barcelona was aired on La 1, the Eurovision Song Contest was on La 2 and, against odds, the audience chose music and not football. Of course, times were different, but most viewers gave the cold shoulder to sport to watch how the components of the group Bravo represented Spain with their legendary song Lady, Lady.