Overseas television rights to English Premiership matches for
the next three seasons have been sold for more than $1.2 billion on
the back of booming demand from armchair fans in Asia and the
Middle East, the FA Premier League announced on Thursday.
The organisation which runs England's 20-club top flight said
that the sale of broadcasting rights in 81 overseas blocs covering
208 countries and territories would generate a total of 625 million
pounds ($1.23 billion) over the course of the 2007/08, 08/09 and
The total is twice the amount raised from the current overseas
television deal and it will take the Premiership's total earnings
from media and broadcasting rights over the three seasons to just
over 2.7 billion pounds ($5.32 billion).
British and Irish television rights for the same period were
sold last year for 1.7 billion pounds ($3.35 billion) while a deal
for other media, mainly mobile phone and internet rights, is to
raise a further 400 million pounds ($790 million).
The result of the cash bonanza is that the winner of next
season's title will receive around 50 million pounds ($100 million)
from prize money and their share of the television money.
The club that finishes bottom of the league can expect a figure
in the region of 30 million pounds ($60 million) - the same as
Chelsea received for winning the title last season.
Richard Scudamore, the Premier League's chief executive, said
the increase was driven by fierce competition for rights in Asia
and the Middle East and underpinned by the willingness of clubs to
open their doors to foreign players, managers and owners.
"We have a cosmopolitan approach to players and a cosmopolitan
approach to ownership and that is paying off," Scudamore said.
"We have seen growth everywhere but the really big jumps have
been in Asia and the Middle East.
"No territories have gone down but in some cases the rights have
ended up being sold for three or four times the current
One of the fiercest battles for rights was in Hong Kong, where
Richard Li's telecommunications group PCCW bid 10 million pounds
($19.7 million) to claim the rights from the local cable television
A fresh injection of cash into football will also inevitably
increase concern over the earnings of players and agents and the
widening gap between the sport's haves and have-nots.
(China Daily via AFP January 19, 2007)