With big names such of Real Madrid, Athletico Madrid, and FC Barcelona, great spanish soccer stories can often get pushed aside. Worth $3.4 Billion and $3.3 Billion respectively, Barcelona and Madrid are more recognizable than any team in the world. Despite having the two richest clubs, other teams in La Liga struggle to break even. While overspending is common, it has led to the demise of many.
Eibar is home to the smallest club in all of Spain. In a mountainous town of 27,000 citizens, Sporting Deportivo Eibar is at an economic disadvantage to that of their competition. After winning the 2013-2014 championship in Spain’s secondary league, Eibar was offered promotion into the first division. In order to accept the bid, Eibar needed to transition from club to company. This process is documented in Real Decreto 1251/1999.
Real Decreto 1251/1999 in Article 3.2 states that, “Aquellos clubes que por acceder a una competición oficial de carácter profesional deban transformarse en sociedad anónima deportiva deberán cursar la solicitud de fijación su capital mínimo dentro de los tres meses siguientes a la fecha de su inscripción en la liga profesional correspondiente.” In easier terms, clubs applying to become a corporation must raise the minimum Capital in relation to the league’s demands. For the Spanish Primera Division, this is over $1.6 million in capital.
In less than two months, Eibar was able to attain their goal by selling shares of the club via social media. Soccer enthusiasts around the world grabbed the opportunity to own a soccer team.
Achieving promotion was a huge win for the little guys. Worth 1/1000th of their counterparts, Eibar has achieved their idea of success while avoiding debt. Eibar is forced to borrow players from other clubs with a much smaller budget. 25% of their players are on loan from teams such as Liverpool, Real Sociedad, Sevilla and AC Milan. Loaning talent is much cheaper than purchasing their rights, but it can often damage team-chemistry. From the fan’s point of view, learning the names of star players gets annoying year after year.
In front of their home supporters, Javi Lara of Eibar curved a game-winner on the opening day of the La Liga season.
As of March 27th, Eibar is three points above relegation. Surviving in La Liga will help Eibar gain crucial funding from television contracts.
Eibar’s future with Spain’s elite will be an interesting story to track, and ISH will provide updates about their development.
Born in NYC x Raised in VA