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The Premiership

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It All Kicks Off Over Sale of Rights to China

The sale of rights to broadcast Premiership football in China, potentially the largest market for the world's most successful football league, is forcing league bosses to paper over widening splits between its big and small clubs. The divide pits clubs such as Manchester United and Chelsea, household names and successful brands in much of Asia, but not yet in China, against the likes of Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic.

Buyers Wait For Fire Sale at Liverpool FC

Co-owners of Liverpool Tom Hicks and George Gillett, who were the subject of a fans' demonstration yesterday, have hit a brick wall in their attempts to sell the club. Several potential investors think that it makes better sense to wait for the club to be sold at a knockdown price rather than inject money now. There is a strong feeling that Liverpool are heading towards a financial crisis of their own making that will force the owners to sell.

Premiership Gets Sponsorship Boost

The Premiership has secured a three year sponsorship renewal from Barclays worth £82.25m. The deal represents a 25 per cent premium on the £65.6m agreed with Barclays in 2007 and follows the rejection of an initial £70m offer from the bank. Barclays has sponsored the Premier League since 2001, initially in support of Barclaycard. The Premiership's success in securing such a sizeable increase from Barclays provides further evidence that the recession has done little to diminish the marketing appeal of what is regarded as the world's best and most entertaining domestic league.

Extending the Premiership Model to Other Sports

The Premiership model is a highly successful one, but can it be readily extended to other sports? Premiership clubs could set up professional basketball teams to play in a new British league under their football brand names as part of a US-led $25m plan launched next week. US owners of clubs at Aston Villa, Liverpool and Manchester United are investor targets of the new British Basketball Association, led by a group of former US National Basketball Association executives and US businessmen.

Top Clubs Fend Off Recession

Premiership clubs have kept their fans and in some cases increased attendances since the start of the season, providing further evidence of football's ability to withstand recession, according to Deloitte. The first six weeks of the season have seen clubs using 91 per cent of their stadium capacity, in line with previous seasons. Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City have increased attendances by 10 per cent.

Dramatic Drop In Draws In Premiership

Leading bookmakers are facing the prospect of profit warnings in the next few weeks following heavy losses on football since the start of a Premiership season that until yesterday had seen just four draws - the bookie's favourite result. Bookmakers would expect an average about one in four of the 66 matches played until yesterday to have ended in draws, which would enable them to clean up because of punters' preference for betting on wins.

The Credit Crunch and Football

How will the credit crunch hit football? The financial storm is not over yet, but at the moment, within the Premiership at least, the top clubs are sitting pretty, while smaller clubs in less prosperous areas are having to be more innovative in their response. Watching football at the top level either live or on television isn't cheap at a time when incomes are being squeezed. A Sky package costs around £400 a year and season tickets have gone up by almost 800 per cent since the Premiership was set up.

English Clubs To Fight Platini's Plans

Some of Europe's leading football clubs, especially those in the Premiership, are preparing to oppose plans bu Uefa to curtail the ability of club owners to buy their way to success. Michael Platini's campaign, which some think is aimed at Premiership clubs, has been approved by Uefa's executive committee and will come into force over the next three years. The concept has the approval of the European Club Association, which represents about 150 clubs.

Ten Per Cent Drop In Premiership Transfers

Transfer spending involving Premiership clubs in the summer transfer window is expected to total £450m, down 10 per cent on last summer's £500. Moreover, Manchester City alone accounted for more than a quarter of the total buying eight players for more than £120m. Another £80m was accounted for by the sale by Manchester United of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid. The value of transfers from overseas clubs is about 40 per cent down on each of the past two summers.

Liverpool FC renegotiates its debt with RBS

Liverpool which owes two banks £350m has renegotiated its debt with the Royal Bank of Scotland. Although Liverpool fans will be relieved that a deal has been done, after fears that the loans might be called in, the sequence of events does nothing to reassure them that the American co-owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, have the financial clout the football club needs, particularly to build the Stanley Park stadium.