Day: March 23, 2010

How Would Football Survive A Digital TV Shake-Up?

It’s the elephant in the Premier League boardroom. The seventeen years of the expansion (and, subsequently, the debt) of the Premier League has been built largely on television money, but possible upcoming changes to the regulations regarding digital television in England could see the once seemingly endless increase of money being paid to the clubs by Skt Sports start to dry up somewhat. At a Premier League meeting three weeks ago, Richard Scudamore admitted as much to the chairmen of the twenty members of the league. The response, according to one source at the meeting, was “stunned silence”. The Premier League’s business plan is utterly, hopelessly dependent upon a constant stream of money. More than prize money or gate receipts, it is the bed rock upon which the illusion of the league’s wealth is built. The concerns of the Premier League are very real, though. Prompted by complaints that Sky are too dominant in the pay TV market from rivals BT Vision, Virgin and Top-Up TV, the industry regulator Ofcom launched an investigation into the market, in particular focussing on the high cost to these rivals of carrying Sky’s premium sports and movie channels. The results didn’t make for very encouraging reading for Sky. Ofcom’s intention is to force Sky to cut the cost of the sale of their services to their rivals by something up to one third....

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What Ian Watmore’s Resignation Tells Us About The FA

Eighty days before the World Cup finals and not more than a year after he took the job in the first place, Ian Watmore has quit as the Chief Executive of the Football Association. When Watmore spoke at the Supporters Direct annual conference in Birmingham last October, he didn’t inspire a great deal of confidence. His with the Premier League’s Richard Scudamore’s comment that, “You can’t bar people because you don’t like the cut of their jib” seemed ill-placed, considering the audience that he was addressing that he may even have already been in the pocket of the Premier League to some extent. That the rumours are that he is leaving because he has been unable to bridge the implacable gap in values between the FA and the Premier League comes both as something of a surprise and no surprise at all. His referencing of Scudamore’s comment was certainly appropriate with the benefit of hindsight. The state of cold war between the Football Association and the Premier League has been getting hotter and hotter over the last couple of years. Lord Triesman’s attack on the league for allowing its clubs to sleepwalk their way into millions of pounds worth of debt would have been prescient were it not for the fact that it was so bleeding obvious to anaybody with so much as a cursory grasp of economics. The...

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