Friday, February 04, 2011

Premier League deal set to unravel? Potentially good news for the fans'?

The greedy Premier League might well yet live to regret pursuing Karen Murphy, through the law courts following the news that Juliane Kokott, the EUs advocate general, has advised that the Premier League's exclusivity agreement – an arrangement which is supposed to prevent broadcasters from screening Premier League matches beyond their country borders – goes against EU law.

Five years on from Murphy's first appearance in a magistrates court, she has taken her appeal all the way to the Grand Chamber of European Courts of Justice - a court reserved only for the most complex cases of European law.

If Murphy wins her case it will have profound implications for the Premier League and its clubs. TV money from the Premier League deal accounts for the biggest slice of income for English clubs. Whatever the ruling, it is likely that there will be an appeal, but if Murphy eventually wins her case then club's like United and Chelsea will find it difficult to keep on paying current levels of player wages.

In the not too distant future, we the fans might well have more choice when it comes watching football on TV and importantly for less money.


  1. JR.

    Well it all depends on the standard of football one wants to watch.

    If the European Court uphold the decision of this one individual, (There record has been to support such opinions) it may well result in total chaos.

    If we can then all buy albanian boxes to view any match, SKY will not pay the amount of money they pay today- the same would apply to any broadcaster-

    With people able to watch any game on a Saturday, whenever, that will mean less people bothering to attend stadiums- thus lower league teams will fold.

    Premiership teams reliant on the SKY money will also suffer less revenue through the turnstiles. They will be unable to retain top players on massive salaries.

    No doubt premiership teams could well face bankruptcies.

    So whilst many 'punters' will be laughing at SKY. I am afraid that for football in the UK it is a disaster.

    It will, however, certainly teach SKY a lesson. Had the just ignored the situation they may have lost a few pubs and clubs. They could, of course, have reduced their pricing. Their arrogance will be their downfall.

  2. Strapworld,

    Part I:
    You have highlighted some of the likely issues that will impact on our game as a direct result of such a decision, however, while it's true Sky have cornered the market and are to blame for some of the issues, I feel it's the Premier League and the clubs themselves who are at fault for much of what is happening to our game.

    The issues:

    Ticket prices too high: I regularly watch United at my local boozer these days (after opting out in 2005 following the Glazer takeover - I vowed these leeches would not receive a single penny from myself, not directly at least anyway, but yes I subscribe to Sky). Take the last home game, the pub was rammed; it is a big pub, half of it was made up of under 25 year-old reds and the rest were over that age up to 60+. It has become too expensive because at one time, many of that number would have been at the game...

    Player wages too high: The Premier League has allowed its clubs to pay these silly wages which have impacted on everything connected with the game but most of all ticket prices.

    Dodgy owners: The Glazers should never have been allowed to put United into hock as they have done, here again the Premier League is partly at fault. What we need is the 50+1 Rule as in Germany.

  3. Part II:

    TV rights and the greedy Premier League; we can all appreciate what Sky has done in terms of the breadth of its coverage - it is 100 times better than in the old days when we were restricted to the likes of that clown Gerald Sinstadt on Granada back in the 70s and 80s; back in those days, you'd get god awful camera angles and not many of them and they'd often miss the vital action in the build up - it was quite simply dreadful - save for the quite brilliant David Coleman on BBC.

    So I don't really have a problem with Sky in some ways because they're providing a quality service.

    But it's by no means a perfect system for the fans'; the EU has helped to ensure that there's a certain amount of competition - if we can call it that, with the likes of Setanta ITV Digital and now ESPN...but personally, I'm not sure these also-rans are good for the fans who then have to multiple subscriptions...

    Now then to the real crux of the matter and until now I've not really hammered home my point.

    It is the Premier League who have been really stupid here, because if they hadn't been so active in taking these landlords to court then this issue wouldn't have arisen. Let me explain.

    I don't know the numbers, but ask yourself how many pub lanlords are currently paying this reported £5,000 a year to Sky...

    ... As far as I'm aware in my area, which is Hazel Grove and Bramhall, I know of just one pub that officially screens Sky and that is the Ladybrook (so it is a minority interest in the bigger picture in some ways).

    Now South Manchester (despite what City fans will have you believe) is jam packed with Reds. It's true to say that there's quite a few pubs screening foreign football channels....

    So the Premier League is taking action to protect its territorial rights, but here's the thing; there's an argument that they could have left well alone and accept that there will always be 'rogue' landlords...because now they are in serious danger of making a much bigger problem for themselves and their broadcast partners... the Premier League might will have been chasing down these landlords with a view to retaining their existing public house market share but they are in danger of wrecking the whole structure! So the PL has brought this upon themselves...


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