The Price Of Television

£5.136billion. That is a lot of money. In fact, it is actually hard to put into words how much that is.

And what is such a huge sum being used for? It could go to charity, or paying for equipment in hospitals or saving facilities which are so valuable to the local public like libraries and community centres.

Nope, it is none of these. It has been paid by Sky and BT to show 168 Premier League matches, per season, from 2016/17.

It represents a 70% increase on the last deal, which came into effect this season, and means the television companies are paying £10million PER GAME. On top of this, finishing bottom of the Premier League will now net you £99m. That is not a bad reward for having a disastrous season.

There has been a lot of outrage from football fans about all this money.

First of all; why should a club be given so much for failing so badly? It is not remotely fair on a team in the Championship who may be trying to win promotion, because they will be significantly worse off than somebody who has been relegated. It is just not a level playing field.

Fans want to see the money going back into their pockets too, in terms of lower ticket prices and perhaps subsidised away travel.\

That is great, if you are a Premier League. But what about the negative impact on the Football League?

For example, if a floating fan, perhaps someone who has not yet decided whether they want to be a Tranmere or Everton fan, can suddenly go to Goodison for cheaper than Prenton Park, then the likelihood is they will choose the Premier League football.

Obviously Mark and Nicola Palios, amongst other chairman up and down the line, are working hard to stop such a thing, but when you ask many so called “arm chair” fans why they are not going to the games, ticket prices is often the given reason.

So the club could be directly hit in terms of attendances – already a blow when they have, using Rovers as the example again, fallen significantly over the last decade.

I see Friday night football on television is going to become a regular thing too.

Tranmere have cherished such games for decades, but of late have struggled to get teams to play them. Perhaps this will be the final nail in that coffin, because the likelihood Friday games would lead to larger crowds and a better atmosphere is significantly less.

Simply put, for clubs in the Football League, I simply cannot see any benefits behind this TV package.

And as I said right at the top, it is hard to explain just how much money £5.136billion is.

It would certainly be enough to bankroll a club like Tranmere or today’s visitors Shrewsbury for centuries.

But I think Accrington Stanley got the context just about right. Shortly after the details of the deal were revealed, they tweeted: “One game would pay our annual wage bill for the next 20 years.”

It really is no wonder so many people are falling out of love with modern football.


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