Thursday, October 13, 2011

Liverpool’s TV plans given quick rebuff

It was always a risk for Liverpool to stick their head above the parapet and suggest Premier League clubs should negotiate their own TV rights.

The proposal – like the deal currently used in Spain – would allow Liverpool to try and cash in on their worldwide appeal, rather than coming as part of a complete 20-club package that we have at present.

Well, I suspect the idea will now disappear as quickly as it arrives if the initial reaction is anything to go by. Manchester United (who stand the most to gain from such a deal), Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City have all distanced themselves from the idea.

Wigan – one of the clubs who stand the most to lose – are understandably against the plan, with chairman Dave Whelan labelling it ‘diabolical’.

The thing is though; Liverpool may not actually gain as much as they think if they negotiated their own rights. After all, TV companies would love to divide the Premier League up to try and save cash, rather than pay 
for one package, and so that would drive prices down.

You also only have to look at La Liga for evidence of how damaging individual TV rights could be – Barcelona and Real Madrid are now streets ahead of the rest, with many sides in Spain on the brink of administration. 

Part of the Premier League’s appeal is the idea that no one can regularly predict the football scores and that anyone can beat anyone – that won’t happen if the financial disparities are allowed to expand still further.

Liverpool’s owners are just trying every avenue possible in order to raise more funds to build a new stadium and therefore improve their premier league odds. I can understand that, but on this occasion I think they have badly mis-judged the mood. And, as has already been pointed out in the media, for a club whose most famous manager preached socialist ‘for the people’ principles, this stance is as capitalist as you can get.

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