Maintaining a sides Premiership status has always been a big issue. The Premier League, dubbed “the best league in the world” is what any Championship team dreams of being promoted to. This season avoiding relegation is more crucial than ever.
Sky and BT who purchased the domestic television rights for the Premier League paid an astonishing £3.018billion for the three year deal. Sky is going to pay £2.28billion to televise 116 games a season. The Premier League also gained more money in a $250 million deal with the American broadcaster NBC. The deal lets NBC broadcast up to 380 games a season and takes effect from the 2013/2014 season. The Premier League also raked more money in through other broadcasting deals around the world. The deal means that next seasons bottom club will receive more money than the 2011/2012 champions Manchester City did. That is more than £60million. This is a fee that clubs cannot afford to miss and which the parachute payments no longer make up for. While these deals were announced in October time, a while ago, they go a long way in explaining the desperation shown by teams in or near the relegation zone.
The sacking of Brian McDermott was treated with incredulity by football people. However, the decision, while still now appearing pointless, shows just how keen Reading are not to miss out on the minimum £60million television money. The cost of sacking McDermott is clearly outweighed by the vast amounts of money the new rights bring to the game. It was worth the gamble of appointing Adkins if he was able to keep Reading up, thus meaning Reading would get at least £60million next season. While Reading staying up is almost impossible, the gamble was worth it. Other decisions which look panicky can be explained by the television rights deal, such as the sacking of Nigel Adkins at Southampton. Southampton were desperate to stay up due to the money available next year and did not want to risk the season with a team in poor form led by Adkins, a man who had done so much for them. Newcastle United’s spending spree in January, where they purchased 5 first team players, shows that the cost of buying the players now, instead of waiting for a cheaper cost or contracts to expire, was definitely worth the outlay. Newcastle needed the impact of quality to ensure they stayed in the league.
The mass amounts of money could potentially widen the gap between the Championship and the Premier League. Championship clubs seem to be adapting better to the league as they get promoted, with more Championship teams staying up each season. However, with the money that the rights deals bring, the Premier League clubs can invest on players and thus improve the quality of the league. This will inevitably make it harder for newly promoted Championship clubs to adapt and survive.
The deal also establishes the Premier League as the richest league in the world. This means that Premier League clubs will be able to bring in more top talent with more money to spend. The top talent will further increase the Premiership’s great reputation. Maybe soon we will see English clubs dominate the Champions League every single year. The money though has a negative impact. If clubs look to spend the money on new players, even less promising English talent will be given the chance to germinate. This would weaken the already average national team. Perhaps the money would be better invested in youth academies in an attempt to try and improve England’s fortunes in major tournaments.
While the exact area the money will be invested in by clubs is uncertain, what is certain is that it is so important to stay up this year. Reading and QPR look doomed but the rest of the teams in danger will be even more desperate to stay up for the vast amounts of money available next season.