Sky and BT Sport will make the Premier League the best in the world


The English Premier League will soon be the best football league in the world again due to Sky and BT Sport

The battle for supremacy for the title of best football league in the world should be won on the field of play. It should be decided by which league has the best players, coaches and fans. In actuality though, it will be decided in the corporate boardroom and on your television screen. The Premier League TV contract with Sky and BT Sport mean England’s top-flight league will soon be able to claim the title of world’s best football league.

Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummennigge is right to express his worry that the Premier League’s TV contract will give it financial superiority over the German Bundesliga. It’s even smarter for him to try to grab the attention of other prominent football club chairman across Europe to pay attention to the issue. In his case, the new Premier League contract with Sky and BT sport means that his league will receive less than 20% of the revenue that his England competitors will receive. That gap is going to bring superior talent to the Premier League on a regular basis.

There will, of course, be exceptions to the rule. Some players will choose to remain in their home nation or play for the club that raised them through their academy. The vast majority of players will follow the almighty dollar though. The home of the almighty dollar will be in the Premier League.

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The overall revenue disparity between Premier League teams and their competitors won’t be five to one (like the TV comparison between EPL and Bundesliga) but they will be significant. Premier League sides will literally have extra hundreds of millions of pounds to spend over the life of their TV deal. While smart clubs will pump some of this money into team facilities and infrastructure, the vast majority of it will end up going to player salaries and acquisition fees.

This extra cash flow is going to allow all 20 Premier League sides to outspend their European competitors. It’s unthinkable to imagine Norwich having more buying power on the transfer market than AC Milan, yet that could easily happen in the next few years. After all, the last place team in the Premier League table will still receive just under 100 million pounds. This rich deal will dwarf what other European leagues are able to provide to even their top clubs.

As television deals expire for other prominent European leagues they should be able to close the gap some. The next Bundesliga deal will certainly be far superior than their current arrangement, but it still will pale in comparison to the Premier League contract.

What other European leagues need to do is work with their TV partners to increase the value of their properties. In some ways, other European leagues need to “sell out” and provide more favorable scheduling formats for their media partners. It might take away from some of the atmosphere that makes those leagues great, but the atmosphere will disappear if the quality on the field declines as well.

Perhaps multiple European leagues could band together to try to bundle their TV rights for a greater contract. What I’d also recommend would be partnerships between other leagues to create “made for TV” events that might command a rights premium. I’d tune in to quite a few matches of a special Serie A-Ligue 1 challenge and I bet you would too. Imagine a match-up of the two leagues where each table position played their counterpart in the other league. It could be a TV goldmine.

The other leagues in Europe need to wake up or else they risk being run over by the English Premier League. The revenue from the new television contract may wash over their clubs and rob them of their best players. This will be their loss, but will allow the English Premier League to once again be acknowledged as the best in the world.