Premier League TV Rights: The Courier Sports Team Reacts

PL TV Rights

ON FEBRUARY 10th, the Premier League concluded the sale process of live broadcasting rights for the next three seasons. Sky is paying £4.2 billion for its packages of 126 Premier League games, while BT is set to pay just short over a billion pounds for 42 live Premier League coverages. This equals an astonishing £11 million per game for Sky and £7.6 million for BT. As the rivalry for the Premier League coverage has reached new levels, the price that has to be paid by the fans is set to increase as well. In the wake of the sale process, former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein argued that the new TV deal enables Premier League teams to further compete with the European powerhouses for the best players and new trophies. There can be no doubt that the Premier League has once again consolidated its position as the richest domestic league in world football.

Erik Olsson:

The interesting thing, however, is that German, Spanish, Italian, and French teams continue to be as competitive in European football with only a fraction of the television revenue. In the last six seasons, there has been three Spanish winners of the Champions League, one Italian, one German, and only one English. Even with the astronomical revenues from such TV deals, Premier League teams seem to struggle in competition with the likes of Bayern München, Barcelona, and Real Madrid in the Europe League and Champions League. At most clubs in the Premier League, the hideous excess will go straight into the pockets of the directors, players and their agents, leaving the fans as the biggest losers. The amount of money you will have to pay for a ticket to Arsenal v Burnley is grotesque, whereas if you are lucky enough to grab one for a Dortmund game at Signal Iduna Park against Bayern München you will have to pay as little as €15-20. That is barely enough to watch a lousy Norwegian third division match in snowy conditions and -13 degrees.

The problem is not necessarily the TV deal in itself, but rather how the Premier League clubs are managing their finances and particularly the way in which they decide to spend their money. The biggest clubs in the Premier League are owned by some disgustingly rich and dodgy businessman that is happy to part with £35 million for an overrated target man such as Andy Carroll, with nothing but one decent season in the Premier League and a handful of international caps to his name in 2011. In order to get their money back, they return the ‘favour’ of signing such a ‘marquee-signing’ with increasing the ticket prices for the loyal fans. In the Bundesliga, however, the majority of the revenues from TV rights goes to subsidising the fans so that their tickets are as cheap as possible.

Hurrah for the Premier League model and the fantastic TV deal.

Lewis Owen:

The financial bubble of the Premier League shows no sign of bursting. While debate may still rage over which league is the most competitive, or which league offers the best experience for the fans, from a purely economic perspective the Premier League has no rival. The fact that the broadcasting rights of a single top-flight match is now valued at a staggering £30 million speaks volumes about the Premier League’s marketability and its ability to attract global audiences. As the clubs and the league’s administrators continue to line their pockets, however, it’s hard not to escape the feeling that this new television deal will only further detach football from its humble roots. Ticket prices in the Premier League continue to soar, pricing out all but the wealthiest fans, and despite the assurances of the deal brokers, it’s unlikely that enough of the money will trickle down to grassroots level, which is in dire need of substantial investment. Perhaps the most unsavoury aspect of this deal however is its moral and ethical dimension. The declaration made by the odious Richard Scudamore that Premier League clubs had no obligation to pay their staff a living wage, despite being able to grant their footballers obscene weekly salaries, left a particularly bitter aftertaste to the announcement of this deal, and only serves to underline the fact that what was once the great game of the working people now solely serves the interests of the mega-rich.

Illtud Dafydd:

There’s so much to be said about this deal without even talking about the financial details of the deal, but this is a huge deal and it highlights the competition between the two broadcasters. More football on TV with more football on SkySports and BT Sport fixtures-wise but if you look at the earlier announced Champions League and Europea League television rights deal one sees why BT Sport couldn’t challenge BSkyB for the Premier League rights as they had already clinched £897million deal over three years, and were their funds stretched a bit too far to claim another slot of broadcasted Premier League football? If we look across the Atlantic, in 2011 the NFL announced a $27 billion package until 2022 between three broadcaster (Fox, NBC and CBS), with all three expected to pay $3billion a year. What this means is $200 million to each one of the 32 franchises, before any other business by them is made. The $200 million is given equally to each team, no matter their league performance, nor their public popularity. This is very different if we look at La Liga, annual TV rights are worth €750 million, where Barcelona and Real Madrid, who receive an incredible amount more money for their matches than, say, Granada, or even last season’s Europa League winners, Sevilla. Elsewhere in Europe, the Serie A receive €960 million annually, Ligue 1 with €748 million a year and then the German Bundesliga with €675 million per season. All of these are engulfed, and overshadowed into mere embarrassment with the Premier League’s new deal, €2,330 million, but in the other leagues, every match of every matchday is broadcast live on television for the local spectator, unlike the maximum of 5 matches per weekend for British viewers.