Curtain falls for channel that broadcasts bullfighting

by Lorraine Williamson
bullfighting channel

Movistar Plus+ is closing down themed channel Canal Toros. In the absence of an official announcement, the bullfighting channel is expected to be disbanded in March. 

The company made the decision after Plaza 1, the company that runs the Las Ventas bullring in Madrid, and Pagés, which runs the Real Maestranza de Caballería in Seville, signed agreements with new German streaming platform OneToro. This will broadcast seasons for the next three years, the festival of San Isidro and the feria in April.  

Period of uncertainty

In the absence of an official announcement, the channel is expected to be disbanded in March. The demise of Canal Toros creates a period of uncertainty until OneToro gets this project off the ground. Canal Toros has been vital to the economic fabric of bullfighting for the past 10 years. Especially during the worst period of the pandemic. Having lost its two main pillars, Movistar Plus+ has opted to close this channel. The channel was created at Canal+ in March 2011 with Víctor Santamaría, who recently retired, and Manuel Molés as its main ambassadors. 

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In September, negotiations between Las Ventas company Plaza 1, headed by Rafael García Garrido, and Ignacio Frauca, director of Canal Toros, broke down. For the first time, the Feria de Otoño was not televised. That turned out to be the beginning of the end. During the San Isidro gala (1 February), news broke that OneToro – along with Telemadrid, present at 14 of the 23 bullfights – would be the platform to take over the rights to the world’s biggest bullring, with the San Isidro bullfighting festival as the crowning glory. Then came the final blow when Seville too opted for OneToro’s bid. There was no room to make a counter offer. 

Also read: Thousands gather in Madrid to protest against bullfighting

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