Yesterday, I touched partially on the rumours that the Premier League were set to announce a record TV deal with Sky and BT Sport. At the time, the rumours were that the deal would be for £4.4bn. In fact, this, was an underestimate. The true figures of the deal were announced as a mammoth £5.136bn. And how this song and dance announcement is another nail in the coffin of our game.
As detailed in yesterdays blog, at the lower figures, Premier League clubs could reduce there ticket prices by around £25 a ticket, and still maintain their current reviews. That would be a season ticked reduction, based on Arsenal’s 26 game season ticket, of £666.
The announcement of the new TV deal led to numerous former players (most of whom are now earning their money from TV) to add their support to the reduction of ticket prices and the Twenty’s Plenty Campaign.
All have been vocal on the matter, which can only be good news. Obviously the cynic might say that they all earn their money for football, and would any of them dare wear a ‘Twenty’s Plenty” t-shirt on their relative show or air their views and bring further publicity, whilst given the air time by their pay masters.
The more publicity a fair deal for fans, away AND home get in the media can only be a good thing. What must now happen is the fans stand together. Rather than mocking a rival club for having high prices, we must all stand together in disgust of high prices across the board.
Yes, it is very easy to moan online. Many Arsenal fans will point to how many people complained on Social Media when the last lot of price rises were announce, in comparison to how many actually turned up to the protest. It was not good enough. We as fans let ourselves down.
The new TV deal should ensure not only that we see no price rises over the next 5 years +, but see prices drop.
Sadly, whilst the heart says this should happen, the head knows full well it should not. You only have to look at the trend of wages against TV revenue to have an understanding as to where all new income go’s.
TV revenue and players wages have risen over the years at a similar pace. The first thing that would have happened this morning at Old Trafford would be Wayne Rooney’s agent knocking on the managers door, demanding a wage increase for 2015. His clients slice of the TV money pie. Every agent worth his salt will be doing this.
Now I do not mind paying top dollar for the top players. Sanchez, give him what he wants. Messi for £500,000 a week? Worth it. But it is the lower end. Your Emmanuel Frimpong’s getting £30,000 a week. That will now become £50,000. Yaya Sanogo on £20,000, that will become £40,000.
Now I full well understand that this is what market forces dictate.
Chelsea, for example, signed Ruben Loftus-Cheek to a £35,000 a week deal when he was 17 and had not featured in a Premier League game. He has since played once in the League for Chelsea in the 18 months since he signed the deal. A total of £2.55m paid to a now 19 year old how has not contributed to a thing. I remember the fuss made when Dennis Bergkamp became the first player to earn £30,000 a week at Arsenal, and he was one of the best players in the World.
Unfortunately, it is a case of ‘Keeping up with the Jones'”. If you want to keep your top young players, you need to offer them what they could get next door. If you want to keep your low end squad players happy, you need to make sure they are getting the equivalent at other clubs.
John Obi Mikel, very much a bit part, squad player at Chelsea, is on £80,000 a week. Scott Sinclair was signed to Manchester City on £45,000 a week, they gave Jack Rodwell £55,000. These are astronomical wage, and the new TV deal will only result in them going up.
You will see all the top players at clubs earning northwards of £200,000, and the top, top players above £300,000. The rest of the starting 11 will all be demanding £100,000 wages. And a squad player will start to earn above £80,000.
Wage bills will go up £40,000,000 a year, eating up all of the new revenue for clubs. This would leave fans stuck where they are now. Paying high ticket prices for the same product.
It is not any one clubs fault, it is a collective. They all strive for the best players. Whether it is best starters, best youth, best squad players, they want them, and will pay a premium to get them. Until there is a collective agreement to limit wages – which there will never be – things will never change.
The TV revenue will not benefit fans. It will just go to making rich, young, average footballers, richer. And it is not right.
Hopefully the exposure to the plight of match going fans bought to the forefront by the likes of Ian Wright might see some change. But what it will probably see is the current away fans subsidy of £2.50 be increased to £2.51. It will not be good enough.
Greed is killing our game.