For those unfamiliar, this will serve as a quick breakdown of the layout and structure of club football (soccer) in Spain.
The top tier of Spanish football is called La Liga (20 teams). Below La Liga are La Liga 2 (22 teams), Segunda Division B (80 teams split into four groups), and Tercera Division (360 teams split into 18 groups). La Liga features two of the world’s biggest and most supported clubs in Real Madrid C.F. and FC Barcelona. The league currently has a television contract with BEIN Sports for viewers in the United States. Seasons typically begin in August and end in May with each team playing each other twice (once each on each other’s home pitch) for a total of 38 games for each team. At the end of each season, the bottom three teams are relegated down to La Liga 2, while three other teams are promoted up from La Liga 2 for the following season.
Copa del Rey: Only teams from La Liga, La Liga 2, select teams from Segunda Division B, and the winner of the Tercera Division from the prior season may participate. In ’17-’18, 83 teams competed. The winner of the cup gets a berth in the following season’s Europa League competition as well as a spot in the Spanish Supercup match. The Copa del Rey matches are played periodically throughout the season intertwining with the La Liga schedule.
Supercopa de Espana (Spanish Supercup): traditionally a two-legged contest played in August between the winners of La Liga and the Copa del Rey from the previous season with each competing team playing one of the legs at home. The 2018 Spanish Supercup between Barcelona and Sevilla, however, pending FIFA approval, will be a one-off fixture at a neutral site, as opposed to the traditional two-legged home and away format, due to conflicts with Sevilla’s Europa League qualifying schedule.
Notes from 2017-2018 season:
La Liga Champion – Barcelona
Copa del Rey Champion – Barcelona
Spanish Super Cup Winner – Real Madrid
La Liga Promoted teams – Rayo Vallecano, Huesca, Valladolid
La Liga Relegated teams – Deportivo La Coruna, Las Palmas, Malaga
Champions League ’18-’19 Qualifiers – Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Valencia
Europa League ’18-’19 Qualifiers – Villarreal, Real Betis, Sevilla
The 2018-2019 La Liga season kicks off on Friday, August 18, 2018. Here are some preseason odds to win the league are shown here: