Liverpool FC: How Their TV Deal Would Ruin English Football
Mostly everyone who follows sports in America has read or heard something about the Long Horn Network and the effect it had on the Big 12 conference and the college football landscape as a whole.
Picture that, but in one of the richest and most popular leagues in the entire world. That is what Liverpool's TV deal would do to the English Premier League.
Under the current TV deal, all revenue brought in by the Premier League is split evenly among all teams in the league. The deal—worth 1.4 Billion pounds—expires in 2013, though, and Liverpool would like to change all of that.
Liverpool wants to sell their own rights overseas, break away from the model and try to make more money for themselves. Two quotes from Ian Ayre, Liverpool's managing director, really sum up his feelings on this matter (via BBC):
"The other European clubs just don't follow that model. They will create much greater revenue to go and buy the best players."
"If we carry on sharing that international revenue equally, you are disadvantaging us.”
These two quotes would disgust any true football fan. While I am not against making money, using that money to go buy players is not the way to advance the game. A club needs to invest in the youth of the club and its community, not buy the best players (mercenaries, if you will). It builds an artificial team with an artificial fan base.
The second quote is by far the most damaging. Liverpool is just looking out for itself. This has been the case in other leagues around the world and because of that, the quality of those leagues have gone from top to bottom.
The most glaring case is the Scottish Premier League. Celtic and Rangers have long looked out for themselves, trying to leave the league at every opportunity, which puts the rest of the league second. If they put as much effort into advancing their own cause as they did making the league stronger, the league would be in much better shape than it is now.
Should clubs be able to sell their own overseas TV rights?
The second league that has fallen victim to greed at the top is La Liga. Barcelona and Real Madrid have negotiated their own TV contracts and the league as a whole has suffered. There is very little diversity in the league with only those two battling for the title.
While some might criticize the Premier League, at least they have the Big Four, now slowly becoming five.
Liverpool has a great tradition and this play at a new TV contract will only determine their reputation as an icon in English football. For English football to grow stronger, it needs to be more competitive and more diverse. More teams like Stoke and Fulham need to rise up and become strong teams in the league.
This deal will just widen the gulf between the haves and have-nots in the league.
So what if Liverpool is able to make more money and buy betters players? They will be led down the path of Celtic and Rangers and become big fish in a small pond.
The League needs the Bolton Wonders and Wolverhampton Wolves to grow stronger, not the rich to get richer. This plan will never be passed by the needed 14 owners of the teams in the Premier League; it reeks of desperation.
There are other ways to create new revenue than to rob from the poor; trying to is a disgrace to English Football.
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