Robin Hood would be turning in his grave. The rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer was not a mantra shared by Nottingham’s favourite renegade but after the Premier League announced their latest TV rights deal, it would appear the poor will remain poor for a very long time.

The Premier League’s latest TV deal earns them a record £3bn over three years which amounts to a massive 71% increase on the previous agreement. As the top flight’s wealth increases, it’s another kick in the face for the struggling Football League whose clubs can only look up at their rivals with an envious glare. There’s an ever widening gap forming between the lower leagues and the top division so isn’t it about time the governing bodies reviewed football’s financial pyramid?

The truth is they’ve already made strides to lessen the void but the newly adopted Financial Fair Play Rules merely help maintain the current financial stability of clubs while the disparity between the leagues remains grossly exaggerated. This is due to another increase in televised football rights after broadcaster BSkyB recently announced they will pay £2.3bn over three years for 116 matches per season from 2013-14. BT, the latest new kid on the block after Setanta and ESPN fell by the wayside, also won a portion of the rights and will screen 38 games while paying £738m over three years. This amounts to roughly £14m more per year for each Premier League club and amazingly the league’s worst placed team from 2013-14 onwards is likely to receive more than the £60.6m Manchester City earned for finishing this season as champions. The Football League Playoff Final is already one of the most profitable events in football and now that teams are guaranteed a bigger financial windfall they’ll be even more desperate for slice of the Premier League’s lucrative pie.

The Football League’s present deal only earns £372 million and that’s shared between 92 clubs with most of the funds used as parachute payments worth £48 million over four years to each team relegated from the top flight. That leaves just £2.2 million each for the rest of the Championship clubs and makes it impossible for them to compete will their affluent superiors. Fans berate the fact that a week’s wages for a footballer is worth more than their yearly income but this inequality is echoed throughout the beautiful game. Each individually televised Premier League match will now cost broadcasters £6.6m. Not only is that and increase on £4.7m from the previous deal but it’s more than the teams below them are receiving for an entire season. With that in mind, how can the lower leagues ever compete?

Financially speaking they can’t for the business side of the game is ruthless and the best product will naturally attract the most investment. While it may be unfair on the smaller clubs, it makes sense for the biggest teams to receive more investment and even the most starry eyed football lover would accept there is little promoters can do to raise the lower league’s profile. Cities like Stoke, Swansea and Norwich have shown there’s some hope for smaller sides trying to break the mould but they’re unlikely to ever compete with the league’s top teams. While it’s possible to be promoted and subsequently become established in the top flight, it remains extremely difficult for aspiring teams to ever compete for trophies at the highest level.

With such a competitive league forming the pinnacle of British football, it’s understandable that teams inside the VIP section get the best service. While the rest of the football league shouldn’t be overlooked, it’s difficult to promote an unpopular product when there’s such an exciting alternative on offer. If viewers have no desire to watch then how can the league generate more funds when supply outweighs demand?

While fans would embrace more financial equality, the position of the Football League’s egg timer means realistically the sands of profit will always sift into the pockets of the big boys.

Do you think the gap between the top flight and lower leagues is too big? Would you be happy if teams had more financial equality? What can be done to promote the lower leagues?

Let me know your views and opinions by following me on Twitter – Tweet me @Alex_Churcher

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  • Melon Man
    2 years ago

    Great article, TV payments to all professional football clubs should be equal, regardless of position in the leagues, or silverware won.
    It takes 92 clubs to have a competitive football association, Man United have to play someone every week, and the better the opposition, the better the more exciting the game.
    If all the minnows were given proper money from TV, they could invest in their stadia, youth academies, and keep onto their young stars longer.
    This would surely benefit national teams with better coaching and stability.
    Unfortunately Europe would also have to fall in line with this arrangement, or teams like Real and Barca will just monopolise everything even more than they do now.

    Reply
    • Tony
      2 years ago

      Maybe Tesco should start giving money to the local corner shop ? So they could make more money

      Reply
      • GFH
        2 years ago

        If Tesco drives its competitors out of business to be the only retailer in the market they might be happy but the consumer shouldn’t be . If Man City eg. drive other teams out of the game they in turn finish up top of the heap but with the average supporter left with no-one to follow .

        Reply
      • Nathan
        2 years ago

        You must be blind if you think Tesco’s current business model is good for our society.

        Reply
        • Tony
          2 years ago

          Never said it was a good business for society just said they are not going to give their money away

          Reply
  • Stan Streason
    2 years ago

    No other country supports 92 full time professional clubs (plus now half the conference sides). Get more money flowing down then let the premiership clubs invest in a lower league club. Chelsea already play reserve matches at Brentford, why shouldnt the be allowed (forced) to own part. Better youth experience etc etc.

    Reply
    • Stan Streason
      2 years ago

      There is no practical objection that cant be covered by a little thought and no objection is as important as making the lower clubs more financially viable.

      Reply
      • Nathan
        2 years ago

        Allowing temporary brand clubs like Chelsea to own their smaller competitors would make the current situation worse not better.

        It’s tragic that our national sport could learn a few lessons in how to make a sport interesting and competitive from the arch-capitalists across the Pond.

        Reply
  • Tony
    2 years ago

    Melon man you are living in a fairy tale land. How can you think all clubs should get the same money. I hope you where joking, if not you should become a politician as you have no clue

    Reply
    • Melon Man
      2 years ago

      don’t you want equality and a fair system for all?

      It’s a dream, and about as likely as Crewe winning the Prem.

      I’m a City fan btw so no self interest from me, just want the little clubs to prosper.

      Reply
      • Nathan
        2 years ago

        City were a little club too once, before they became the PR agency for an oil-rich emirate of course.

        The old ITV split of 50/25/12.5/12.5 between the divisions would be a start and truly reflect the depth of interest in our national sport.

        Reply
        • Melon Man
          2 years ago

          City were also the biggest club in England at one time, hence still holding to this day the record crowd attendance outside Wembley vs Stoke at Maine Road.

          Now that is real history.

          Reply
  • Jez
    2 years ago

    Why do the Premier League clubs get a share of the Football League’s deal?

    Reply
  • Archie
    2 years ago

    I agree with Tony. Melon Man – I can see where you got your name from.
    .

    Reply
    • Melon Man
      2 years ago

      Come on Archie,

      who do you support?

      Not any club outside the Prem I’d guess.

      Reply
  • MikeSA
    2 years ago

    The problem is that these egalitarian ideas always sound wonderful, but invariably have unintended consequences, the 90 and 60 minute rules just serve as one example. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. The likely outcome of an even distribution is that there would be no incentive to do well, so clubs would settle for mediocrity and cut costs to make as much money as possible for their owners.

    Reply
    • Nathan
      2 years ago

      If the only “incentive to do well” in a sport is to make money then it’s no longer a sport.

      It’s the same with all the “football is a business” types who suddenly change their mind when their own clubs are faced with the sort of financial disasters that would liquidate any normal business.

      Reply
    • Melon Man
      2 years ago

      When I played amateur football in all it’s forms, I didn’t need a financial incentive to play my very best, and I didn’t get one of course.
      Professional football is different in as far as it’s a full time job, but take away the financial inequalities, then you still have the heart of football beating healthily – look at the Olympians this summer, they were incentivised as fook!
      TV wasn’t invented when football was taking off in this country in the form we know it, and was far more level in the competitive sense, no massive TV inducements to make certain clubs ridiculously big.
      I want to see a return to the days when a club could come up to the top division and win the title, or at least come close – TV money is at the heart of all that is unfair in football.
      And don’t get me started on Financial Fair play regs, what a dirty business they are.

      Reply
      • Tony
        2 years ago

        What a la citee? They came up from third tier and won the league. Lol

        Reply
        • Melon Man
          2 years ago

          Very funny Tony,
          but yes, City in the past have done some mad stuff, like winning the league one year, then getting relegated the next, the only team to score and concede 100 goals in a season.
          Of course, if all you want is United and Arsenal sharing the league every year, nice and safe with your Champions League cartel, then I have no common ground with you, nor would I want to be a “fan” like you.

          Reply
  • Nathan
    2 years ago

    Eventually (possibly only after a majority of FL teams are supporter-owned and the current system has shafted their club) fans of every club apart from 4-5 global “brand” clubs will realise that the current unfair arrangement is to the detriment of our entire national sport and 99% of its clubs.

    I believe only Charlton’s directors (to their credit) seriously broached the subject of a fairer distribution of TV income when they enjoyed their temporary stint at the top table.

    Sadly the Premier League does not need the rest of English football’s massive infrastructure as much as it once did due to the influx of cheap but mostly pretty ordinary, foreign players and that doesn’t help.

    All in all it’s just another one of Murdoch’s many crimes against our country.

    Reply

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