Whether you are a football fan or not, everyone is aware of the vast amounts of money associated with the ‘Beautiful Game’, from player transfers to sponsorship deals.
Therefore, it was no surprise when the new £5.136bn Premier League TV rights deal was recently announced. The deal, shared between TV giants Sky and BT Sport, will commence from the 2016/7 season for three seasons, with Sky paying £4.176bn to show 126 matches per season and BT paying £960m for 42 games.
Nonetheless, despite the expectation that football TV rights would produce selling figures amounting to at least 8 noughts, many are shocked at the dramatic increase from the last deal agreed in 2012. Back then the deal was £3bn, meaning that in three years there has been a massive 70% increase. Looking at these figures, the new deal seems obscene. Chief Executive of the Premier League Richard Scudamore batted away this suggestion, “It is not. It is market forces. It is unscripted drama, the show the clubs put on”.
The issue here, however, lies with whether the new deal will benefit the fan and reverse the trend of the spectator being exploited for their love of football. It is no secret that ticket prices have been rising for several years now and the BBC’s Price of Football Survey has shown that the average price of the cheapest tickets has risen at twice the rate of the cost of living. It is easy to see why this has caused such outrage when football clubs are receiving more and more money from TV companies, which could be used to reduce ticket prices. It is hoped that this this new TV deal will finally see this happen.
Another concern over the new deal is whether the money will be adequately invested in grassroots football in order to get as many as possible involved in football and improve existing young players. Enough investment in this area could have a positive impact on the state of English football, with young high-quality English players being scouted and developed.
The new deal can be seen as a ridiculous figure, a sign of the greedy corporate world that football has become. Radical action is necessary from both the Premier League and top-flight clubs for the effects to be felt by those that should always matter most – the fans.
Image courtesy of sportonthebox.com