Liverpool leads bid to break up Premier League TV rights deal
Joseph O'Halloran ©RapidTVNews | 12-10-2011 England’s most successful football club, Liverpool FC is to lead a campaign to redistribute non-domestic TV rights for the globally hugely popular English Premier League .
Celebrating the first anniversary of the team’s ownership by Fenway Sports Group , owner of the Boston Red Sox, Liverpool’s managing director was reported in The Guardian newspaper saying that renegotiating the way that Premier League teams redistribute income from TV rights, in particular those from outside f England was "a debate that has to happen."
At present Premier League TV rights are collectively sold unlike the case in other leagues, most notably Spain where the two team clubs, Barcelona and Real Madrid reap much richer rewards form their brand equity than other less successful clubs.
The English Premier League is shown in 212 countries by 98 broadcast partners and the next, imminent deal, is likely to see for the first time overseas rights potentially worth more than those from domestic sources. So-called international rights were sold for £1.4 billion for the 2010‑13 period. The next deal is likely to be worth considerably more.
Even though he advocates no change to the collective domestic rights distribution Ayres’s bone of contention is that overseas incomes are basically derived on the power of the leading clubs, most notably Liverpool and arch rivals Manchester United, and especially in the key Asian and Middle East markets. The two North West giants are matched in global renown only by the two leading Spanish teams.
Ayres told the newspaper, “Personally I think the game-changer is going out and recognising our brand globally…with the greatest of respect to our colleagues in the Premier League, but if you're a Bolton fan in Bolton, then you subscribe to Sky because you want to watch Bolton….But if you're in Kuala Lumpur there isn't anyone subscribing to Astro, or ESPN to watch Bolton, or if they are it's a very small number. Whereas the large majority are subscribing because they want to watch Liverpool and Manchester United…”
Any renegotiation of the deal would need the consent of 14 of the Premier League's 20 members, something that would seem rather unlikely given the scale of income that could be lost.