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." (www.guardian.co.uk)

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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