The Beginning Of The End For The Big TV Pay-Outs?

The news that ITV are trying to renegotiate their contract with the Football Association for FA Cup and England matches will come as small surprise to people that watch the media with any significant interest. Setanta’s recent woes are well documented (the recent loss of part of their Premier League television package has led some within the game to wonder aloud whether the wheels are coming off their challenge to Sky’s monopoly on football already), while only yesterday The Guardian was reporting that ITV’s financial difficulties are such that they are now mothballing their studio in Leeds. They are announcing their annual results tomorrow, too, which are expected to be disastrous. Clubs in the Football League know the dangers of an over-inflated television deal only too well. It wasn’t so long ago that ITV Digital collapsed leaving dozens of clubs dangerously financially exposed and with a contract that allowed ITV’s owners at the time, Carlton & Granada, to walk away from the deal scot-free. The danger for the Football Association is that they have to walk a very delicate tightrope. No matter what peoples opinions of the deficiencies of ITV’s coverage of the game are, withdrawing coverage from them would not necessarily be the great thing that many supporters might feel that it would be. With no competition for rights, the likelihood is that any revised television deal (struck...

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