Sports news pages have today been full of stories on how one Premier League club is looking to trigger a change in the way that TV rights are sold abroad. Clubs are increasingly gearing their strategies to take advantage of the unprecedented growth in Asia. All facets of the burgeoning gambling industry have and are seeing how important this market is. A man that shares the name with the creator of this site is aiming to take one club to the next level.
Ian Ayre, Managing Director at Liverpool FC, is pushing for TV rights to be sold differently by the Premier League in foreign territories. Specifically they are seeking to sell their rights off separately to get the best deal that is possible with their “product” or “brand” at the head of it.
He commented: “What is absolutely certain is that, with the greatest of respect to our colleagues in the Premier League, but if you’re a Bolton fan in Bolton, then you subscribe to Sky because you want to watch Bolton. Everyone gets that. Likewise, if you’re a Liverpool fan from Liverpool, you subscribe. But if you’re in Kuala Lumpur there isn’t anyone subscribing to Astro, or ESPN to watch Bolton, or if they are it’s a very small number. Whereas the large majority are subscribing because they want to watch Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal.”
Make no bones about it – at the heart of Ayre’s sentiments is the fact that Premier League clubs are as greedy as they’ve ever been and want more. The current deal for overseas TV rights is worth £1.4billion over the next three seasons and shared equally amongst the league’s 20 clubs. Ayre’s plan would be to sell all 38 of Liverpool’s games separate from this to garner the most profit from a market like Asia that is continually growing.
Through sponsorship deals and clubs launching IPOs in the Far East, the importance of Asian revenue is at an all time high for the Premier League. Much like the gambling industry, this is set to continue and someone very close to home indeed has been beating the Asian gambling industry’s drum for some time.
We’re speculating as to whether there’s been a separation at birth here. Calvin Ayre has predicted the growth that the gambling industry will continue to see in Asia is reason enough for all firms to focus on this market as a matter of course. Ian, of Liverpool Ayre fame, is also firmly focused on the Asian market and can see the lucrative opportunities that it presents for his club.
Whether the Premier League agrees with Ayre is another thing entirely and the division of TV rights is not likely to take place in the UK any time soon. Overseas rights earn clubs a sack load of extra cash that they can dispense on whatever they please (we hear Andy Carroll wants some new beer to go in all those empty bottles that were thrown at him two weeks ago). Domestic rights are currently shared differently to those overseas with 50% split equally amongst the clubs; 25% according to their finish the previous season; and 25% contingent on how many times you’re on TV. A deal on that basis would be more likely and mean that the league’s top clubs would have to look elsewhere to boost profits.