Rich get richer thanks to EPL Â£5.1 billion TV deal
Epl clubs are raking it in
WHAT is that old saying about money going to money?
Certainly seems to be true in the case of the English Premier League. The richest league in the world has just got considerably richer after the rights to show live coverage of matches were sold for £5.1 billion.
From the start of the 2016-17 season to the end of season 2018-19, Sky and BT Sports will plough billions of pounds into a football division which is a money-making machine. And these eye-watering numbers don’t include the £200m spent by the BBC to secure the future of Match of the Day or the goldmine which exists when it comes to selling rights overseas. The increase in value tops 70 per cent. Have Sky, in particular, overpaid for the product?
That argument can be made. But with interest from other media groups and the fact that live EPL football is a key part of their business model, did they have any choice? And after losing the rights to show live Champions League football from next season, Sky could not afford to suffer another blow.
Sky and the EPL have moved hand-in-hand since August 1992 and their first transmission. Teddy Sheringham scored the only goal of the game at the City Ground as Nottingham Forest beat Liverpool 1-0. Football has changed markedly in the period which has followed.
Everything about the game in the top-flight south of the border has got bigger.Unfortunately, bigger does not always mean better. Take ticket prices for example. The cost for fans who want to support their teams has rocketed.
Away supporters in particular feel it in the wallet. Manchester City’s travelling army faced forking out £64 until their club stepped in and subsidised half the cost.It would be nice to think some of the EPL’s bounty would be used to cut prices at the turnstiles.
Full stadiums, raucous atmospheres. These things have helped make this league the best on the planet. Banks of empty seats don’t show up well on TV. If the match-goer turns his back and stays at home or in the pub, it will begin to chip away at the appeal of the EPL.
With the club finishing bottom at the end of the 2016-17 season set to rake in almost £100m, player transfer fees and wages look set to rise again.
This is not a bad thing, particularly for lower-league clubs in England or those in the Scottish Premiership with top talent on their books.
A £1m rated player will have his value increased overnight. Pay packets will also go up.But football is one of the few businesses where those who actually entertain and possess the talent enjoy their fair share of the loot.
For a number of observers, last week’s announcement is another negative move for a game they feel has lost its soul. It’s now up to the EPL to show they know the value of everything as well as the price of it.