Often Partisan

I Want My BSkyB

“That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
Money for nothin’ and chicks for free”

When I was a young lad Mark Knopfler sang about the obscene amounts of money that rockstars earnt in comparison to the blue-collar workers. These days, it could well be sung about footballers as we see the latest contracts on offer that dwarf what the ordinary amongst us could ever hope to earn in a lifetime.

Yesterday, the Premier League announced the winning bids for the TV rights to the top flight between 2013-16, which came to a staggering £3billion. During a time when we’re told we’re all in it together, that there is a need for austerity in the face of a double-dip recession the PL has managed to jack up the price for its “product” by a further 70 per cent.

I’ve not seen the breakdown yet of how much each club will guarantee to earn each year in the Premier League but a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation would say that if it increases in proportion, clubs can look forwards to around £68mil per season for being in the top flight. To put that into context, in the recent accounts released by Birmingham City for the 2010-2011 season, they posted a record turnover of £61million – £7million less.

Of course, as David Conn points out in the Guardian, that money is only going to end up in one place – the pockets of already well-paid players and agents. You also have to wonder how much further it will fuel the gap between the top and second tiers; Blues were happy to pay the likes of Nikola Zigic and co £50k per week in the top flight previously; however relegation to the Championship dropped our wage ceiling to a reported £15k per week. Does this new deal mean that every relegation will be associated with firesales as clubs look to quickly rid themselves of wage obligations that they cannot possibly fund in the Championship?

The big question for me is how much longer this can be sustained for. I had thought previously that this TV rights auction might be the one where the bubble burst but it appears that there was enough competition from new players in the marketplace – this time BT – to keep pushing the price up. I’m of the belief it cannot continue for too much longer; there is only so much money that can be squeezed from subscriptions and having seen companies like ITV Digital and Setanta tank from overpaying for rights I wonder if BT know what they’ve let themselves in for?

As even more games have been picked up in this auction it means that ever fewer games will kick off on a Saturday afternoon at 3pm. Whilst it’s nice for the armchair fans to have a choice of football matches every night on the box, I feel for the hardcore who give up their time to follow their teams home and away, because it’s going to get harder to do that with more games being at strange times on differing days of the week.

I’d love to be able to come up with an answer to all of this but the fact is there isn’t one. The number of people who watch football only on the box outnumbers the number of “proper” fans who go to the games, and as we know, money talks the only language that business will listen to. It’s the way of the world, and until the bubble finally does pop, the way it will be.

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22 Responses to “I Want My BSkyB”

  • Gareth says:

    Football unfortunately is too far gone to enact the drastic changes needed to bring some semblance of sporting competition back into the game, rather than being a competition of “who can spend the most?”.

  • KS says:

    Spot on! Another step towards making the BIg Bigger and unfortunately the small smaller. The gap will indeed grow exponentially over the next 3 years, at a time when clubs outside of the PL are being assessed on their ability to stick to the Financial Fair Play regulations that are imminent. My gloomy prediction is that by 2016, the majority of League 2 and some clubs in League 1 will be run as semi-professional. There will be a growing number of distinctly average footballers out of work come August too!

    • Oldbluenose says:

      My thoughts for some time now, Have been a reversion back to the times of Division 2,/or 3, becomes regionalised once again to save money on travel expenses,!!.

      A Northern, Midlands and Southern versions of those particular divisions, — Meaning ,– No overnight stopovers, — No long distance travel for clubs or supporters, [ Cup games, excepted ].!!.

      All to lighten the incredible expenses that most clubs/suporters cannot afford,!!. A sad, but perhaps neccesary way to go,?.

  • Blueboy 88 says:

    The saddest story for any football traditionalist this summer has to be Cardiff City changing their club colours from Blue to Red to accomodate far east investment of a reported 100m pounds.

    As with BSKyB money talks , we can all tut from the sidelines , but if a Billionaire rolled into town tomorrow to do a Man City for Birmingham City FC , changed the kit to a fetching Flaming Cerise, & bought in Lionel Messi & Wayne Rooney , is there any supporter out there going to raise a serious objection & tell him to sling his hook…..?

    • Mike says:

      Zigic would look lovely in cerise

    • alexjhurley says:

      I’d be very tempted…..as far as im concerned trophys won, sorry, bought by Blackburn, Chelsea and Man city as well as the continuing premier league status of Fulham and Wigan (amongst others) which have been achieved by money from wealthy sugardaddies are the scourge of the modern game.

      I was delighted to see Bolton and Blackburn go down.

      FIFA don’t get much right but I applaud the FFP regs – watered down or not. Anything that levels the playing field and gives well run clubs a fairer chance of success is fine by me

      rant over

      • Blueboy 88 says:

        FFP regulations brought in to prevent professional football clubs spending more than they earn in the pursuit of success and in so doing getting into financial problems which might threaten their long term survival …

        So to meet these FFP Man City announce Eitihad Airline (or their owner in any other disguise) are going to sponser them to the tune of a reported 400m ………….

        This sends UEFA scullting back to their lawyers crying foul……so who do we think will have the biggest gang of lawyers in this fight ?

        There is no such thing as a level playing field..as I fear we are about to witness.

  • Bluenosesol says:

    I recall an interview on US television, when the US Baseball players went on stirke rather than accept a wages cap. An official was asked about the catastrophic effect on attendances. He admitted that the revenue from gates was dwarfed by the TV rights and hence it wouldnt bother him if games were played behind closed doors as long as the TV cameras were there! Methinks this is where we are heading. Who cares if no one in the UK watches UK football. As long as we can sell it to foreign TV audiences around the world then it remains a viable “industry”.

  • P.J.Nicholls says:

    From watching these European games it is increasingly obvious that we in the UK are getting a much lower class of football than those in Germany,where the spectators pay much lower fees to watch their football.
    Is this the old story of the king & his suit of clothes.
    We are told that the Premier league is of much better quality than it really is.
    In truth there are only probably 4 clubs worth the spectator fees they request the rest are in truth ordinary.
    I am a Birmingham supporter and I feel very angry that a player the likes of Nikola Zigic can command £55000 per week on a 4 year contract with Birmingham having no chance of getting rid of him.

  • Bluenose Pete says:

    “Money doesn’t talk, it swears”. Fortunately, as we saw with Blues last season and hopefully will again, the enjoyment of watching football isn’t dependent on the amount of money being paid to the players and their agents.

  • mitchell says:

    I paid £4 for my first game, our first in the old third division.

    I really miss the days of standing up, no agents, the odd expletive without having to worry about the nearest woman and child, the smell of bovril/cigars/urine.

    We will get to a point where it is no longer viable for a working class man to take his kids to the football; there are some fans in the country that have already reached this point.

    I hate the fact that you can be unbeleivably average and get paid 60k per week, or kiss the badge of your club, then kiss it goodbye when an extra 20k a week comes along; ” it’s the final contract of my career and earning £3 mill a year is tough, I have to think of my family”

    The day the Premier League was formed was the day the game died. Couldn’t care less about Andy Carroll, the Manchester rivalry, or how much the bench is worth at Chelsea – they’re all on a bloody fortune, so results/performance do not matter – how can it when you can retire at 23?

    Countless young kids who follow the top four but have never been a to a live game, the countless ar53holes who have “2 teams”, Money has destroyed football and we all stick a big 2 fingers up to the lot of them. The carp footballers ( thanks for all your efforts David Bentley), the media, the jump ship managers, the twitter footballer ( is there anyone more annoying than Joe Barton?) – they can all f off.


  • Kaje says:

    I honestly can’t see how UEFA can keep allowing the rich clubs to get richer at the expense of the poorer clubs.

    I’d wager that within 10 years, we’ll see a new European Super League formed for the rich clubs in an attempt to make European leagues more competitive again. At the moment, you can pretty much guess the top 5 of any European league year on year.

  • BlueB says:

    Only so long this can go on. Atmosphere in all grounds is currently deteriorating rapidly. Armchair fans may want to watch at home but once any semblance of an atmosphere then they will probably go off and watch the golf instead.

  • cecilFW says:

    If some no-mark billionaire thinks he can stroll into St Andrews and start changing things like our shirts just because he’s pumping in £100 M, then my message would be – No Thanks

    We may be a bit down at the moment but we have the most important thing intact – our pride

    • Bluenose Pete says:

      I agree but how much say in the matter did Cardiff fans have? Anyway, I’m not sure about a ‘no-mark billionaire’ but what about a MARK ONE ‘billionaire’? That would be a catchy name to have on the shirts!

  • oldburyblue says:

    I am in the fortunate positionof being able to pay for Sky Sports, attend every FA game at Wembley, was in Ukraine on Monday but NOTHING compares to attending St Andrews as a Season Ticket holder…no matter which Division we are in.

    As a football lover I never thought I would say this….but there are far too many matches on telly. The bubble WILL burst…its only a matter of time.

  • neal says:

    No other economic system in the world has worked better than Western capitalism but the down side is within the next three years with this increase there will be some vastly overated footballers ( probably English ) with brains the size of a pea being paid £250-300k per week, at the same time as some life saving Surgeons working endless hours per week can only earn half that in year – in truth its disgusting.

  • DoctorD says:

    The new deal is frankly ridiculous as it will just:

    * go into the pay packets of players and agents;
    * enhance the gap between the Premier league and everyone else;
    * encourage sides like us to gamble even more on premiership survival and/or entry;
    * entice even more obscure and flaky foreign owners to buy clubs;
    * constantly divert Championship players and mangers to the big stakes in the division above.

    All in all a bad move — not sure how it fits in with the “fair play” rules and all that.

  • jazzzy786 says:

    Ironically if blues were Man city everyone on here wouldn’t care as it isn’t their club suffering. I think the word I’m thinking of is hypocrisy.

    • Bluenosesol says:

      People with a social conscience do not lose it according to their footballing allegiances. I have many friends who are Man city fans and they realise like the Chelsea fans that their good fortune only lasts as long as they are being bank rolled. They too agree with the sentiments expressed here.

  • BlueBarry says:

    This may be a good thing for blues. There is even more of an incentive now for a rich sugar daddy to come in and buy Blues and take them to the rich pickings of the Premier!

  • Aussiebrum says:

    It’s wrong to assume the price is too high or the “bubble will burst”.

    These rights are really valuable, they will definitely drive subscriptions for the successful bidders – to the detriment of their commercial rivals. This obviously generates revenue but more critically can enhance the capital value of the company – for BT each new subscriber clearly has a value.

    You’re right there is a limit but the explosion of digital technology combined with the pre-eminence of the EPL could result in several more rounds of significant escalation in the cost of rights.

    I think the EPL fails to maximise the value of multi media rights and with better fixturing; they could further enhance the value of the TV rights.

    For example, and this will make me unpopular, I find it beyond comprehension there isn’t a Friday night EPL fixture every week. In most codes that is the absolute prime viewing period.

    Then there is Saturday night, Thursday night, Christmas Day …. prime times where there are not currently fixtures.

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