Moneyball
February 24, 2015 3:58 AM   Subscribe

Another way of looking at this is that all Premier League clubs already receive more money from their domestic league TV deal than all but 5 other European Clubs: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, Inter and Milan. When the new Premier League deals starts in 2016/17, this list will reduce to just Real Madrid and Barcelona – and even that is in doubt following La Liga’s decision to move to collective bargaining, where the top club will only be allowed to receive 4 times more than the lowest club.
The Swiss Ramble analyses the Premier League's new domestic television rights deal.
posted by MartinWisse (57 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Serious question, how does television make any money with soccer broadcasts when they can't cut to commercials during the game?
posted by octothorpe at 4:10 AM on February 24, 2015


At least in my market: pay-TV fees.
posted by pompomtom at 4:11 AM on February 24, 2015


Its an amazIng number. It's not far off the combined big three TV contracts in the us for a population 1/5th the size.
posted by JPD at 4:12 AM on February 24, 2015


(OK, ignore me.... missed the 'UK only' part)
posted by pompomtom at 4:14 AM on February 24, 2015


It has two roles - it drives satellite It subscribers and then the satellite fee for the sports channels is like 24 pounds a month.

The main rights owner is the satellite broadcaster
posted by JPD at 4:16 AM on February 24, 2015


In a strict sense tho they almost certainly won't make money off the contract. I.e. the associated add revenue + incremental subscriber fees will be less than the cash thethey give the teams.
posted by JPD at 4:21 AM on February 24, 2015


Serious question, how does television make any money with soccer broadcasts when they can't cut to commercials during the game?

It costs extra money to show them in the pub but the real trick is that premier league football is how Sky sells subscriptions. It's like sports and American cable except I think the relationship is even stronger. People who don't care about sports don't tend to pay for Sky at all. So if they lost the bid they would have quickly lost most of the subscribers.
posted by srboisvert at 4:25 AM on February 24, 2015




@octothorpe

They have plenty of advertising at half time, also almost all football is now exclusively on paid satellite or cable TV therefore it drives subscriptions.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 4:26 AM on February 24, 2015


Pretty Much all sports rights function as a loss leader. It's also a big block to cord cutting.
posted by JPD at 4:32 AM on February 24, 2015


That article is subscriber only Just This Guy.
posted by pharm at 5:21 AM on February 24, 2015


Burnley are now, economically, bigger than Ajax.
posted by blob at 5:29 AM on February 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah; the reason that the football rights have exploded is because BT have got in on the act. Unlike previous Sky competitors (Setanta, On Digital etc), BT aren't likely to go away after a season or two.

Football then becomes one of the main tools in driving not just TV subscription, but also things like broadband subscriptions as various media companies via for as much vertical integration and pipeline owning as they can manage.

Sky was offering "free" (basic) broadband if you had one of their TV packages, while I swapped to BT from a different broadband supplier (/BT reseller) because it gave me a free subscription to BT Sports.

Overall, as a supporter of a Championship club that has been vying to get back in the Premier League, it's reasonably depressing, in that it's going to make it even harder to get out of the Championship as newly relegated clubs are going to have a lot more financial muscle. (It's also going to make the hype around the Championship playoffs insane, and I find the playoffs stressful enough at the best of times).

It's also reasonably obvious that large amounts of that money are going to flow straight out of the game into wages and agent fees while lower league and grassroots football continues to struggle.

At the same time, I'm pretty sure there's very little that can be done without incredibly strong (and legally dubious) legislation so yeah, best to sit back and enjoy the TV show (and not the live match as the one thing you can guarantee the football money won't do is to make it any more affordable to go to a game).
posted by Hartster at 6:15 AM on February 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oops, it was free to read through Google. Sorry.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:27 AM on February 24, 2015


Keep in mind, in 2012 NBC bought three years of the Premier League's US rights for $250 million. Premier League matches are already beating the NHL in the ratings. It will be very interesting to see what happens when that contract is up.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:40 AM on February 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


The Premier League has one of the fairest distribution models in Europe, but it is worth noting that the gap between top and bottom would increase from £36 million in 2013/14 to £60 million in 2016/17.

This drives me nuts. As best I understand it, a team's cut of the revenues is based on how often they are on TV* which, like everything else in football, is a great way to keep the rich rich and the relegation fodder struggling bravely. Say what you will about the NFL, but the best thing they ever did was divide TV revenue equally-- now that it completely dwarfs other revenue sources, teams are on a fairly even footing.

* It's disconcerting to me to hear on a UK podcast how certain games weren't on TV when I can see any of them in the US with NBC.
posted by yerfatma at 6:55 AM on February 24, 2015


This drives me nuts. As best I understand it, a team's cut of the revenues is based on how often they are on TV* which, like everything else in football, is a great way to keep the rich rich and the relegation fodder struggling bravely. Say what you will about the NFL, but the best thing they ever did was divide TV revenue equally-- now that it completely dwarfs other revenue sources, teams are on a fairly even footing.

That's true, but it does mean that owning an NFL team is pure rent collection.It's a great deal for the existing NFL teams but not for potential new teams.

Nothing would really stop anyone from setting up their own soccer team in England and trying to spend enough to climb the ranks into the premier league. The NFL on the other hand is a more or less closed shop which means they can afford equal sharing.
posted by atrazine at 7:00 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


The theory behind not showing a lot of games on tv in the UK is that it would hurt live attendance elsewhere. If you could watch Man Utd (or whoever) your kids might be pressuring you to watch that on tv instead of going to see Accrington Stanley or local team play.

I can see the point. Although with 5 billion sloshing about they'd be well advised to lower ticket prices so the younger, less well heeled and possibly more enthusiastic fans can attend, adding value to the tv show and building fans for the future.
posted by Swandive at 7:06 AM on February 24, 2015


Yerfatma, it comes down to this: I could travel to an EPL game live. If they put the match on telly i'd probably be less inclined to do so. You , on the other hand, cannot, and so they aren't cannibalising their own audience. That's the theory, anyway.
posted by trif at 7:09 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Swandive, I hadn't considered the local aspect of the argument.
posted by trif at 7:11 AM on February 24, 2015


@trif yeah it's the 3pm kickoff thing. Most games take place at that time in all leagues, whcih I think is why it's sacrosanct. It gives away fans time to get to a train, it's not a workday for most, it gives time to get home. Whereas a Monday evening kickoff for example, is a fuck you to the fans as it's going to pull in viewers but the away fans get boned because the trains have stopped by the time the match is over.
posted by Swandive at 7:15 AM on February 24, 2015


It amuses me that you can occasionally find a pub showing live 3 PM matches in Italian through some jury rigged Italian TV card.
posted by trif at 7:21 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


As best I understand it, a team's cut of the revenues is based on how often they are on TV* which, like everything else in football, is a great way to keep the rich rich and the relegation fodder struggling bravely.

Sort of. The Premier League is collectively bargained (unlike, say, Spain). Of UK TV money, 50% is evenly distributed, 25% is based on final league position, and the remaining 25% is based on TV appearances. All overseas TV revenue is evenly distributed.

The actual money gap due to appearance levels is in itself relatively small (about 13 million last year, or a disappointing striker).

(However the teams with the most appearances are likely to have a better final league position; be in European competitions (which are completely additional revenue streams); have longer cup runs which bring in more money; have bigger stadiums with more match day income; have better sponsorship deals; and be able to do more lucrative out of season tournaments etc).
posted by Hartster at 7:26 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I spent a productive afternoon in Dublin watching football in a chinese gambling bar, with commentators screaming in arabic at Liverpool. It's the world's game so it is.
posted by Swandive at 7:27 AM on February 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


SquareSpace : Podcasting :: Pukka Pies : Lower Tier Football
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:43 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


> As best I understand it, a team's cut of the revenues is based on how often they are on TV* which, like everything else in football, is a great way to keep the rich rich and the relegation fodder struggling bravely.

That's the main thing I don't get about European league football. I mean, there are downsides to the NFL's system, which is designed to foster parity (and, some might say, uniform mediocrity), but if you're a fan of, say, (*picks a second-tier team at random*) Stoke City, it seems like the the most you've ever got to look forward to is a top-5 finish. Maybe one of the really Big Money teams craps the bed one year and you finish ahead of them.

My understanding of these dynamics is rudimentary at best, but when I look at list of the top three finishers each year I don't see much variety.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:52 AM on February 24, 2015


Well with City and Chelsea buying their way into the top echelon of PL football you have 6-7 teams consistently fighting it out for the 4 CL spots.

United
City
Chelsea
Arsenal
Liverpool

are pretty much locks in the top echelon with Everton and Tottenham typically being the also-rans. Soton and Toon and Villa can typically compete at the top echelon for 2-3 years before they get all their talent stolen. Honestly this new deal should help with that.

In comparison to the other leagues which are typically dominated by 1-2 top teams every year (Barca, Real, PSG, Juve, Bayern, Dortmund) the level of competition among the top PL clubs is very tight.

I think that it's actually remarkably similar to the NFL model which has a good deal of parity on any given sunday but if you actually look at the win-loss ratios over the last decade or so tend to tell a story about a small number of elite teams that consistently make it to the playoffs. Further because the PL has a junior league there is massive incentive to not "suck for luck" because you don't have the benefit of draft picks buoying your teams.
posted by vuron at 8:10 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


with Everton and Tottenham typically being the also-rans

Not this year!
/cries into Everton scarf, mumbles about winning the Europa League.
posted by yerfatma at 8:12 AM on February 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Martinez will probably require 2-3 years of transfers to get the type of team that he likes rather than a Moyes branded team. Still Everton should be in the second tier teams (consistently getting EL rather than CL football).
posted by vuron at 8:22 AM on February 24, 2015


It costs extra money to show them in the pub but the real trick is that premier league football is how Sky sells subscriptions. It's like sports and American cable except I think the relationship is even stronger. People who don't care about sports don't tend to pay for Sky at all. So if they lost the bid they would have quickly lost most of the subscribers.
posted by srboisvert at 7:25 AM on February 24

So in that way, it's like HBO's relationship with Game of Thrones. It loses them money for three months a year, but hardly anyone cancels their $10-$15/month subscription for the other nine months.
posted by dances with hamsters at 8:24 AM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


(*picks a second-tier team at random*) Stoke City, it seems like the the most you've ever got to look forward to is a top-5 finish.
I'm glad you brought Stoke up! I'm sure 7Segment will be around at some point to add his own thoughts, but that is one of the appeals of the game to me. For example, in the NFL if you have a shitty year what do you have to look forward to? A good draft pick? Whereas if you have a shitty year you can drop right out of the league and go into freefall like Wolves did over the past few years. Blackburn, Wigan, Cardiff, Bolton, or Reading certainly don't look like they will be returning to the top flight anytime soon. Thus, why Tony Pulis is well paid. He keeps teams up. That is worth millions in itself. It used to be, and I think still is, the case that each league position in the EPL is also worth more money so the difference in 8th and 9th matters.

Stoke, despite being the top of the second tier teams, has to worry about getting relegated every year. We don't have the name, the budget, or European football to lure players so we typically look into the market for players that never lived up to their potential (Bojan) or for players who are troublesome and moody(Marko Arnautovic). Sometimes they work out and sometimes they don't.

Plus, this year if English teams do well enough in Europe, and we finish 8th, Stoke could be headed back to the Europa league.

This is huge for a team that was stuck in the wilderness of the lower leagues for many years. Huge.
posted by josher71 at 8:59 AM on February 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


Interesting, thank you. But actually winning the EPL is basically something you wouldn't even hope for?
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:10 AM on February 24, 2015


Interesting, thank you. But actually winning the EPL is basically something you wouldn't even hope for?

Not really, no. That's why the two domestic cup competitions are so popular.
posted by josher71 at 9:15 AM on February 24, 2015


Building a PL winning club is pretty much a multigeneration process unless an oil billionaire buys you and ignores FFP for the foreseeable future.

Honestly it's easier for a top team to fall out of the PL more or less permanently (Leeds) than go from a mid tier team like Stoke to a PL contender. Most of the top echelon of teams have been at or near the top for at least 10 years and while it would be possible for someone to take a team like Villa to the top echelon with a crazy transfer budget it's structurally difficult because nobody wants another Chelsea or City at the top least of all City and Chelsea.
posted by vuron at 9:18 AM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Stoke City: Our colour code guide to how Stoke can qualify for Europe

Easy! Looks like it's basically a done deal! (sigh)
posted by josher71 at 9:32 AM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


And Europa League comes with the almost guaranteed drop of 2-3 spots next year as your squad suffers through the injuries that come with having to play mid week games in some frozen Russian or Ukrainian hellhole. Even if you survive the group round then some 3rd place CL squad from hell comes in and typically wins the EL.
posted by vuron at 9:39 AM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


And Europa League comes with the almost guaranteed drop of 2-3 spots next year as your squad suffers through the injuries that come with having to play mid week games in some frozen Russian or Ukrainian hellhole. Even if you survive the group round then some 3rd place CL squad from hell comes in and typically wins the EL.

Except if you win it you now get a Champions League place the next year. So you might want to stop crying into your scarf (at least until you lose in the final to Spurs) yerfatma!
posted by garius at 9:50 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


That's the main thing I don't get about European league football. I mean, there are downsides to the NFL's system, which is designed to foster parity (and, some might say, uniform mediocrity), but if you're a fan of, say, (*picks a second-tier team at random*) Stoke City, it seems like the the most you've ever got to look forward to is a top-5 finish.

I think the best US analogue to soccer leagues is college football. There are 120 teams in the top level of the NCAA pyramid, and for at least a hundred of them, a successful season will consist of doing reasonably well in their league, beating their rival, and winning a bowl game. The soccer equivalents are doing reasonably well in their league, beating their rival, and doing something notable in either one of the national cups or one of the goofy sub-Champions League international club competitions. You can go farther with specific team analogies, but just to pick one, asking why anyone would care about Stoke finishing 5th and qualifying for the meaningless [on preview, near-meaningless] Europa League is like asking why Boise State fans would care about winning a meaningless Fiesta Bowl and finishing ranked #5 in 2006.
posted by Copronymus at 10:04 AM on February 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think that it's actually remarkably similar to the NFL model which has a good deal of parity on any given sunday but if you actually look at the win-loss ratios over the last decade or so tend to tell a story about a small number of elite teams that consistently make it to the playoffs.

Dynasties are actually pretty rare in the NFL. Things like the New England Patriots doing so well for so long are outliers. There are a couple of teams that are perennial losers (Raiders and Browns leap to mind) thanks to incompetent owners messing with the team too much. But over the 49 years we've had the Super Bowl as the championship game, 19 teams out of the 32 current teams* have won it all, 12 of them more than once, 6 more than 4 times.

In the EPL, since 1992, there have been five teams who've won. Man U (13), Arsenal (3), Chelsea (3), Man City (2), and the Blackburn Rovers (1), who are no longer in the EPL at all.

Part of why the NFL has a much larger spread of champions is the nature of the playoffs, where one bad day means an otherwise better team loses and is out. But another part is the explicit nature of the league which is to make sure every team has at least some hope of winning, because that keeps the fan base happy and you make more money.

It's very interesting to watch the dynamics of the NFL/MLB/NBA/NHL, all of which are the absolute top league in their sports, vs the MLS, which isn't, and if a player gets good, they move over to Europe, or the Europe leagues, where the top players have worthwhile offers from multiple leagues available.

* 26 teams from the NFL-AFL merger to 1976, 28 teams 1976 to 1995, 30 teams from 1995-1999, 31 teams in 2000-2001, and 32 from 2002 to today.
posted by eriko at 10:04 AM on February 24, 2015


Nothing would really stop anyone from setting up their own soccer team in England and trying to spend enough to climb the ranks into the premier league.

I thought Financial Fair Play was meant to put a stop to that.
posted by ambrosen at 10:27 AM on February 24, 2015


> Stoke

As someone who grew up in the area and watched Stoke flailing around in the lower divisions as our local team for years, it's really weird to come onto a site like MeFi and see people from all over the world posting about the club, linking to stories from the Sentinel, and following Stoke as passionately as any fan. A few years ago, the only international Stoke fans were emigrants and the odd Icelander.

In the past few years, Stoke City has basically become unrecognisable. From a fairly run-of-the-mill mid-table Championship football club, it's now become a huge global media and entertainment brand and it doesn't look like stopping any time soon! It's all a little strange and I can't help feeling that there's a bubble somewhere that's going to burst at some point.
posted by winterhill at 10:27 AM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


I may be wrong but I think the only people who think the Europa league is meaningless are people who support Champions league teams.
posted by josher71 at 10:30 AM on February 24, 2015


Stoke are not a well supported team in the USA, but there are more and more all the time. I run the StokeCityUSA group in Facebook and it's to see the fanbase grow steadily. However, I still get "Stoke. WHY?" all the time.
posted by josher71 at 10:32 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Plus, this year if English teams do well enough in Europe, and we finish 8th, Stoke could be headed back to the Europa league.

If only your lot could qualify for the Champions League one year. Maybe then we'd finally find out whether Messi could do it on a cold rainy night in Stoke.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:49 AM on February 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


However, I still get "Stoke. WHY?" all the time.

You're a fan of long ball football?
posted by MartinWisse at 10:51 AM on February 24, 2015


We already know that Bojan can so I'm putting my money on yes.
posted by josher71 at 10:51 AM on February 24, 2015


You're a fan of long ball football?

You've not watched in a few years I take it?
posted by josher71 at 10:52 AM on February 24, 2015


Mind, I'm a Villa fan, so erm, we'd love to get some long ball football played properly. Instead we got Tactics Tim to keep us up.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:53 AM on February 24, 2015


I saw this on Twitter:

SundayLeagueHipster @HipsterManager

It's the remix to ignition,
The Tim Sherwood edition,
I made Bentaleb world-class,
And Harry Kane a magician.
posted by josher71 at 10:56 AM on February 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


I support Wolverhampton, just because they were mentioned on Monty Python once.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:20 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think it is pretty possible for a team like Stoke to reach the Champion's League places just by being flat track bullies and beating up on the Villas and QPRs. Don't worry about the traditional top 5-6 and just go for taking maximum points from everyone else. Easier said than done I know but the top teams are never firing at the same time and so every season becomes either a 2-horse race or a procession, meaning there is space for someone else to come in. Stoke will never be able to be a top-4 regular, but they could have a season of glory here and there.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:36 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's just unlikely because this season we beat Manchester City but lost to Villa. I wish we were consistent but that's why it's fun to watch. For every 1-0 over Man City there is a 5-0 loss to Bolton.
posted by josher71 at 11:46 AM on February 24, 2015


Yeah, it is unlikely. But with more money coming (and being spent wisely) that means they can buy more talent who can win a game even when the team isn't doing so well.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:58 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


And that's why people play Football Manager...
posted by MartinWisse at 1:30 PM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Honestly it's easier for a top team to fall out of the PL more or less permanently (Leeds)

Jor-El to save the day!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:07 AM on February 25, 2015


Can I just say...

Why Arsenal, god damn it why!

Arggghhh!
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 1:15 AM on February 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


(at least until you lose in the final to Spurs) yerfatma!

/semi-smug smirk
posted by yerfatma at 5:19 PM on March 3, 2015


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