Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Premier League doubles the money

The Premier League's sale of its overseas broadcasting rights for 2010-13 will raise around £1.4bn, more than double the previous level of £625m.

With just two deals left to be concluded — in Albania and Russia — the League is assured of raising each club's average annual income from overseas rights alone from £10m now to about £23m per season from this summer.

That leap of £13m per club per year will not necessarily be split evenly. Some of the new cash will bankroll increased parachute payments, up from £11.2m last year to £16m from this summer.

Parachute money will probably also be extended beyond the current two years. The League is finalising details on that, as well as how much extra money it might give the Football League in “solidarity payments”.

It currently gives the 72 Football League clubs £21.6m per year combined for a variety of academy, community and club projects.

The overseas rights bonanza underlines the global appeal of England's top football division, and has been fuelled by intense bidding wars in key areas, mainly between pay-TV rivals in Asia.

The Abu Dhabi royal family from which Manchester City's owner Sheikh Mansour hails has also played its part. The ruling elite's Abu Dhabi Media Company has won the rights for Premier League matches across the Middle East and North Africa from the incumbent holder, Showtime Arabia.

Local sources say Showtime paid around $120m (£80m) last time and that ADMC entered the auction for 2010-13 at $150m, but ended up paying more than $300m (£200m-plus).

If that is a stunning endorsement of growth in one region, then the auctions in Singapore and Hong Kong were downright jaw-dropping.

In Singapore, an island with a population of 4.8m people, the rights are currently held by pay-TV operator StarHub, which paid an estimated £67m for 2007-10. Its fiercest commercial rival, SingTel, believes that Premier League content equals lucrative subscriptions so poured huge resources into the effort to take the rights from StarHub. It succeeded. Sources in Asia say SingTel paid £200m for 2010-13.

In Hong Kong (population 7m), the Now TV station currently has the rights (having paid about £115m last time) but has lost them to i-Cable, which is understood to have paid close to £150m.

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