Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Can Liverpool Lead Celtic and Rangers To TV Riches?

Football's television money will forever turn heads.

The Guardian reports that:

"The deal that shares television's billions equally between Premier League clubs is facing its biggest threat to date after Liverpool announced they would lead a challenge for overseas TV rights to be sold on a club-by-club basis." (

A debate, Liverpool's men in suits say, that needs to happen.

For any doubters this is proof that the game's elite hardly saw the recent court ruling on the cross border availability of satellite TV coverage as a Robin Hood-esque win for the downtrodden poor over the nasty rich.

It's no surprise that top English clubs, whose gods are all financial, want to maximise their profits while raising the drawbridge on competition.

Does it mean anything for Scotland?

It could.

I'd be amazed if this issue wasn't being closely tracked in the boardrooms of Ibrox and Celtic Park.

I've written before about Ajax's desire to break free from their league's collective Eredivisie Live TV channel and market their own rights separately.

They argue that the television riches of the modern game's biggest leagues have robbed them of their elite status and only by jettisoning any sense of duty to the rest of the Dutch league can they hope to clamber back to the top table.

Celtic and Rangers will gauge, correctly, that they are the only real overseas draw the SPL have.

They would also fancy being freed from a collective deal at home. They'll know exactly how many viewers they draw to the SPL coverage on Sky and ESPN. Without seeing the figures I'd guess that the average audience of around 160,000 across 60 live games would be much smaller if the Old Firm were removed from the equation.

If the concept of these existing collective deals begins to shatter across Europe Celtic and Rangers will have the precedent they need to agitate for their own breakaway.

The onus on the SPL to get their next television deal right would seem to have become ever more important.

A refreshing wind of opportunity might just have blown through Glasgow.

There's likely to be a storm of foreboding gathering over every other SPL club.

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  1. Good idea in theory. However like most of the break away schemes the old firm think up, I don't see it happening. one can always dream!

  2. Thanks for the comment Chris,

    It's a good idea for the Old Firm, it would rather increase the gap between the haves and have-nots though so I'm sure the rest of the SPL would welcome it about as much as a team like Stoke would welcome Liverpool's move or a team like ADO Den Haag would welcome a similar move from Ajax.

    It's certainly not a way to guarantee competition for the top teams, one of the reasons the Spanish clubs are trying to act against the Barcelona-Real Madrid monopoly of TV cash in La Liga.

    I can see it being discussed soon though. I also think a Rangers - Celtic TV breakaway would be the inevitable consequence of any experiment with SPL TV. It remains to be seen if the other chairmen are happy behave like turkeys giving their backing to Christmas.


  3. Here in the US, we have 24 hour channels for:

    MLB (baseball)

    They are owned by the leagues themselves, create their own programing and some games as well.

    The "soccer" channel is Fox Soccer (FSC). Of course Fox is the parent of Sky.

    I have wondered recently if there were a 24hr  SPL channel for export that included a game(s) of the week and replay games, what kind of traction it could get overseas. Do it professionally (doesn't mean the production costs have to be high) and make it interesting and fun. Provide it to DirecTV at a very reasonable price so they put it in their sports package and have the teams provide the on air talent so there is real knowledge provided.

    I'd watch it

  4. Thanks for the comment, Prairie BhoyI would imagine that discussions for an SPL TV channel will include investigation of overseas rights and the size of that potential market. Celtic and Rangers might argue that we don't currently exploit those markets enough, others might counter that the quality of the product makes it a very hard sell.It's an interesting thought though. I maintain that domestically an SPL TV channel is not sustainable, an export channel (which might also allow certain clubs to market their own branded channels) might be another option.Obviously without the research figures it's hard to make a prediction as to how successful it could be.Seems certain that the TV market is changing in a number of ways. It remains to be seen how prepared the SPL are for those changes.CheersTom Subject: [thescottishfootballblog] Re: The Scottish Football Blog: Can Liverpool Lead Celtic and Rangers To TV Riches?

  5. I think if this were ever to become a reality the potential for Celtic and Rangers could be massive. I was going to say endless there. Its been something that was whispered going back 10 or more years re. the possibilty of each club owning the rights to their games. Whereby fans could then purchase a season ticket. Its a concept im sure that is a long way off. But for a club like Celtic, with such a huge interest spanning the globe this would surely be something that could generate some serious revenue.

  6. Thanks Enda,
    I'd be amazed if both clubs didn't already have a fair idea of what they could gain from this. It would still be a major step to take though. Not sure if Liverpool were a stalking horse or acting completely alone but they seem to have been left isolated by the rest of the EPL over this. Would the Old Firm have any qualms about facing down the wrath of the SPL? Could Celtic and/or Rangers create something profitable enough to allow them to sweeten the deal for the other ten clubs? All hypothetical at the moment but, as I say, I'd be shocked if they hadn't already considered it as an option. Makes the whole issue of the next TV deal/the SPL TV research all the more interesting Cheers
    Subject: [thescottishfootballblog] Re: The Scottish Football Blog: Can Liverpool Lead Celtic and Rangers To TV Riches?

  7. Yea Liverpool do seem to have been left hanging a tad this week. Be interesting to see if any more EPL teams come out. One thing for sure, if the cash rich English teams think this can make them more money...they will explore every possbile angle.
    I do think it would be important for Celtic/Rangers to ensure any deal also offers a good incentive for the other SPL teams. Lets face it, the standard may be not be high but without them the Glasgow clubs dont have a product. The current SPL TV deal is poor stuff compared with EPL income. If Celtic (and Rangers) want to get back competing on a european level they must find ways to generate the money. And this could be that option. They both need to get back on the level of circa 2000-05 in terms of player standard and wages/transer fees. That would surely benefit Scottish football as a whole 

  8. When even Manchester United and Chelsea are distancing themselves from your perceived good you might think you've gone a bit far! I disagree re the rest of the SPL: if they didn't have a share of a collective deal that includes Rangers and Celtic, the revenues would fall and the distance between the top two and the rest would grow ever larger. I don't really see how there would be trickle down of the benefits to the also rans. Mind you, there is every chance of your view of that depends on who you support!

    Subject: [thescottishfootballblog] Re: The Scottish Football Blog: Can Liverpool Lead Celtic and Rangers To TV Riches?

  9. Assuming that Celtic and Rangers dreams of playing in some other league dont come true then...the knock down effect would be, IF this idea to allow Celtic and Rangers negotiate their own exclusive deals to show their every move, and those deals are lucrative enough to dwarf the existing deals, then the rest of the SPL simply dont have a product without us. On that basis, these lucrative contracts could be used to bring cash into the also rans as well.
    Would Celtic and Rangers want to do that? Would they have a choice, if they are genuinely going to make the kind of money that makes a solid difference to how they operate? Like I say, without the Hearts, Hibs, Aberdeen, Dundee Utd's - the OF dont have a product. So it stands to reason if they - massive IF - can agree mega bucks deals..some of that gets passed down the line