IN THE MONEY: DAZN join battle against Sky Sports and TNT Sports for Premier League bidding rights with England’s top flight targeting staggering £4BILLION a year
- Amazon Prime may leave the picture with fewer tv packages set to be on offer
- There may be as many as 270 games per season in the tender, up from 200 now
- Mail Sport’s new WhatsApp Channel: Get the breaking news and exclusives here
The Premier League hopes that a radical reshaping of the way they sell their TV rights from 2025 will push annual TV income — domestic and overseas combined — up towards £4billion PER YEAR, and certainly higher than the current £3.47bn a year.
While one digital streamer — Amazon Prime — might leave the picture, more of which shortly, at least one other, DAZN, is definitely entering the bidding.
The £3.47bn current figure is already massively higher than any other football league in the world. It is made up of the £1.7bn per year currently earned from Sky, TNT Sports (formerly BT), Amazon Prime, and the BBC for Match of the Day, plus £1.77bn each year from all overseas broadcasters combined.
A tender document for domestic broadcasters is expected to be sent out this month, with interested parties asked to bid for four-year deals from 2025-2029, as opposed to three-deals that have been most common until now.
There will be at least 250 live games per season on offer in the tender, and maybe as many as 270, up from 200 per season now.
DAZN will enter the bidding for Premier League TV rights when they go to auction for the next round of packages
The Premier League are hoping that they will be able to earn up to £4billion for the broadcasts
Amazon Prime are likely to pull out of bidding with fewer packages of games to be on offer
Yet there will be fewer packages of games — probably five as opposed to seven now — with more games per package (between 50 and 54) so that even a broadcaster getting just one package will have a substantial ‘offering’ to viewers.
By the end of the 2024-25 season, Amazon Prime will have broadcast 20 games per season for six years but that package will almost certainly now disappear. Amazon paid peanuts for those rights, or £90m for 60 games in each three-year cycle, or £1.5million per game.
In contrast, Sky are currently paying £9.765m for each of their 128 live games per season in the UK, and TNT £6.25m per game.
The Premier League sold the 20-games-per-season package to Amazon from 2019-20 as a ‘loss leader’ to attract a global tech giant to dip their toe in the water. The venture has been a success for Amazon, showing rounds of games around Christmas online shopping peaks, but only because the rights were relatively cheap.
This all means now could be a crunch time for digital streamers wanting to stay involved or get involved in PL rights.
It was reported in March that Apple might bid for PL rights in the UK but there has been no confirmation. In The Money can confirm, however, the streamer DAZN will certainly be bidding for PL rights this time. ‘We will be involved in the bidding process,’ said a spokesman.
Whether DAZN can match Sky and TNT bids for games remains to be seen, as does the question of whether Amazon can make much bigger bids work for them, which seems less likely.
DAZN — pronounced Da-zone — are an international streaming service, who started in sports broadcasting in 2016, and have covered boxing, baseball, basketball, gridiron and increasingly top-class club football.
Packages will include more Friday night games and Saturday lunch and tea-time games being shown live
DAZN was founded by Ukraine-born British businessman Len Blavatnik, worth £25bn, It has routinely posted billion-dollar annual losses but it hopes to be breaking even within a year.
Contrary to some reports, the new tender will not involve Sunday evening games, which are unpopular with fans and clubs alike. The various packages will include more Friday night games, Saturday lunchtime and tea-time games, probably three slots across Sundays but not generally later than the tea-time game, more Monday games, plus various midweek matches peppered across the season.
Some Saturday evening games (after 7pm) will be screened, but as now, this will tend to happen at the request of a club that has played Champions League football on Wednesday then originally been slated to play at lunchtime Saturday, and had the fixture pushed back seven hours or so.
Ultimately this all means more cash for Premier League clubs. Last season, the 20 clubs collected an average of about £135m from central funds in TV payments.
The deals will mean more cash will be available to Premier League clubs, who picked up an average of around £135m from central funds in TV payments last season
Marathon world record shoe-gazing
Adidas are confident that Tigist Assefa’s obliteration of the women’s marathon world record in Berlin last weekend in their latest high-tech running shoe can help them bridge the gap on Nike’s domination in the sports shoe sector.
Assefa wore the Adizero Adios Pro Evo 1 as she smashed the previous world record by more than two minutes to finish in 2hrs 11mins and 53secs. It is understood she will receive a significant bonus from Adidas for her feat. ‘Whilst we can’t disclose individual agreements with our partners, we can say that our relationships with our athletes are built around how we can support them in what they are setting out to achieve,’ an Adidas spokesman said.
The new shoe went on sale to the public last Tuesday, retailing at £400 per pair, and the 521 pairs that were made available sold out instantly. There will be another ‘drop’ of the shoe in November.
The shoes weigh just 138g, or 5 ounces, and so lightweight they are designed to be worn for a single marathon. ‘This is a shoe optimised for speed, versus durability,’ Adidas say.
Financial filings show that Adidas sold 419m pairs of sports shoes globally in the last financial year, with revenue of £10.9bn from this market. This is against 780m pairs of Nike sports shoes in the same period, grossing £23.9bn.
Adidas have told In The Money they expect a material sales leap in their running shoes following the new world record. ‘We are inspired every day by the achievements of our athletes and we fully expect to see a positive impact from this historic moment.’
Adidas hope that Tigist Assefa setting the new marathon world record in their shoe will help bridge the gap to Nike
Chelsea loan similar to ‘ticking time-bomb’ Glazer finance
Chelsea’s suprise new £405m loan agreement with US investment firm Ares Management includes expensive ‘mid-teen interest rates’ – similar to the finance used by the Glazer family to buy Manchester United 2005, and once described as ‘a ticking time-bomb’.
Todd Boehly and Clearlake secured the loan with Ares last month to invest in the club’s new stadium and Cobham training ground. Chelsea’s finance comes in the form of payment in kind (PIK) loan notes with interest set to cost up to £60m a year. Clearlake and Boehly rather than Chelsea FC are providing security on the loan.
Chelsea declined to comment but a source familiar with the loans told this paper that despite the steep interest rates, the deal was attractive to the owners as they could defer repayments until the loan matured after a number of years.
Chelsea’s new £405m loan agreement with US investment firm Ares Management includes expensive ‘mid-teen interest rates’
Ares, which oversees roughly £289billion in assets, had previously offered funds to two bidders interested in buying Manchester United, however they were reportedly turned down because their terms were too expensive.
Ironically, the Clearlake-Boehly group agreed to demands before buying the club, described as ‘anti-Glazer clauses’.
The clauses included strict limits on the level of debt that they could take on.
The Glazer family’s £790m takeover of Manchester United in 2005 saddled the club with the expensive payment-in-kind notes, which included interest rates of 16.25 per cent.
United have paid out £900m in interest to banks since the Glazers’ arrival, due to the club’s debts
The loan is similar to the finance used by the Glazer family to buy Manchester United 2005
Hundred salaries set to be frozen for second year running amid ECB money concerns
Cricketers involved in The Hundred will not see a pay rise in 2024, with salary bands set to be frozen for the second year running. With the ECB battling rising costs and the possibility of a £100m bill to implement Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket recommendations, a pay rise is seen as ‘highly unlikely’ by well-placed sources.
The third year of The Hundred has been viewed as the most successful to date, with ECB officials understood to be delighted with how the the mens’ and womens’ games were received in August.
However ECB chiefs have also admitted they cannot afford pay rises despite the ‘emergence and growth of global franchise leagues and pressure on player wage inflation’, which posed a ‘major risk’ to the sport in England.
The 2024 salary bands are set to be confirmed before the end of the year.
Women’s salary bands range from £7,500 to £31,250, with men paid between £30,000 and £125,000.
Cricketers at The Hundred will not see a pay rise next year with salary bands set to be frozen for the 2024 competition
This is considerably lower than the reported £390,000 being offered by the new International League T20 sides, while the leading players in the SA20 are commanding £450,000.
There is due to be a decision on the future of the Hundred by the end of the year, with discussions taking place this week.
The ECB and county chiefs are considering whether to abandon The hundred and Twenty20 Blast in favour of a single short-form competition, however any changes are not expected to be introduced until 2025.
ECB chiefs are also considering a cut to its headcount as it faces up to a real terms revenue drop. The cricket body has a fixed broadcast income to 2028, while inflation is putting pressure on running costs.
This week it was reported that English cricket cannot afford to introduce equal pay for male and female cricketers – or ensure free access to coaching for talented young players in the county system.
The ICEC report recommended a move towards equal pay, and although the ECB has announced that match fees for men and women will be the same for international games, there is, for now, not enough revenue to allow for women to receive equal pay in their contracts.
The top England women’s contract is about £150,000, whereas the top men’s central contract is nearer to £1m.
The ECB cannot at the moment afford to give equal pay to male and female players
European tour chief Keith Pelley drives £2.4million package
European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley putted a salary package worth £2.36million last year – a £200,000 pay rise on the previous 12 months.
The rising salary, which has emerged as the Ryder Cup concludes today, comes on the back of signing new sponsorship deals with the likes of HSBC, Emirates, Hilton and Volvo.
European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley picked up a salary package worth £2.36million last year, a £200,000 pay rise
The new deals have took Tour revenues in 2022 to more than £300m for the first time in a non-home Ryder Cup year. Income increased by £50m compared to 2021.
Pelley earned a basic salary of £824,000 plus bonuses and pension payments worth over £1.5m.
However, his salary has yet to bounce back to pre-covid levels – Pelley earned £2.78m in 2017.
His pay is naturally dwarfed by the top players. In on-course winnings alone in the past year, the 12 European members of the current Ryder Cup team earned an average of £6.92m, while their American counterparts made an average of £8.62m. These sums are hugely increased by cash made via commercial endorsements.
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