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The Premiership


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.

Sky Comfortable With ESPN

ESPN is owned by Disney whose market value beats BSkyB's parent News Corp by $42 billion to $26 billion dollars. Yet analysts are saying that ESPN could be an easier opponent in the Premiership live television rights stakes than might appear to be the case at first glance. The game could even turn out to be a friendly.

ESPN Deal Saves Premiership's Bacon

ESPN, part of Walt Disney, has bought both the packages of live games forcibly relinquished by Setanta. It has acquired both the two packages for next season and the one package that runs for three years from 2010. ESPN intends to retail them through the Sky platform and hopefully also through Virgin Media and BT.

Premier League and NBA Discuss Tie-up

The Premiership and the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the US are exploring a marketing and commercial tie-up that would draw on the strengths of the world's two most popular sports leagues as they expand into new international markets. Representatives from the football and basketball associations have met in London to discuss how they might work together. They have also compared notes on their respective rights strategies - particularly in Asia, which is a huge and still largely untapped market for western sport.

Serie A The Fastest Growing League

Serie A was the fastest growing league in Europe in the 2007/8 season reveals the latest Deloitte Football Finance report. Total revenue increased by €357m (34 per cent) to €1.4 billion. The change of mix of clubs in Serie A for 2007/08, notably Juventus' return, contributed two-thirds of the increase. The other clubs increased revemues by c. €120m aided by new broadcasting contracts. La Liga recorded a 8 per cent (€112m) growth in revenue to €1.4 billion, placing it joint second with the Bundesliga which grew by 4 per cent (€59m).

Manchester United Secure Biggest Shirt Sponsorship Deal in History

Manchester United have once again demonstrated their financial pulling power by securing the biggest shirt deal in football history. They have secured a four year contract worth £80m with Aon Corporation, the American financial giant, which will replace AIG as the club's shirt sponsors from the start of the 2010-11 season. The deal comfortably eclipses the £68m four year agreement that Bayern Munich have with T-home, the telecommunications firm, and dwarfs United's existing £56.5m contract with AIG.

Premiership Revenue Tops £2 Billion

The publication of the authoritative and comprehensive Deloitte report on football finance is always one of the highlights of the year for those of us interested in the business side of football. We will be providing further analysis from this year's report over the next few days. It shows that the new television rights deal sent the revenue of Premiership clubs soaring to £1.932m in 2007/8 and revenues are estimated to have reaching £2bn in 2008/9.

Wigan Athletic Top Premiership Value League

It's an unlikely honour, but Wigan are champions of the Premiership in a 'points for pounds' league that measures the extent to which season ticket holders are given value for money. ING Direct compares season ticket costs with the team's performance in the top flight. In the rankings, the Lactics are followed by Blackburn, Aston Villa, Manchester United and Liverpool. Newcastle finish last with Spurs and Portsmouth also in the bottom three. 17 out of 20 Premiership clubs have already announced a prize freeze or a reduction for next year.

Buyer's Market For Football Club Shirt Sponsorship

Premiership clubs are facing a buyer's market for shirt sponsorships. 188Bet, an Asia-focused online gambling company unknown in the UK has pulled off a double sponsorship deal. It will be the shirt sponsor for Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic for the next two seasons. It is believed that 188Bet is paying Bolton about £70,000 a year, while Wigan is getting about £60,000. Both clubs may get bonuses based on team performance. A year ago both clubs could have expected deals in the region of £1m a year.

Premiership Response To Government Criticisms

The Premier League has made a number of responses to government criticisms of the way it runs its affairs. The proposed changes do not address the competitive balance or debt burden issues raised by culture secretary Andy Burnham, but he has welcomed the Premiership's response. It may be that he has other matters to concentrate on at the moment and cannot afford a confrontation with the Premier League.