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"If you want some accessible but informative insight into football then I suggest you couldn't do better than the Political Economy of Football website, which is not only intelligible but comes with the added bonus of being written by Addicks fan Wyn Grant."
Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

Television and Broadcasting


Who is a real fan?

In my view Simon Kuper writes some of the most interesting reflective essays about contemporary football. He surpassed himself with an article in last weekend's FT Magazine.   I'm not sure I agree with everything he said, but it is certainly thought provoking.

He starts with the notion that the whole idea of following a particular club is central to the personal identity of many fans.  Certainly when I think of my friends and acquaintances, I know which club they follow.  That includes the women, by the way.

What the Premiership is all about

The exit of Chelsea from the Champions League, and the poor prospects of Arsenal and Manchester City, provides another peg on which critics of the Premier League can hang one of their eloquent denunciations.  West Ham's income is poised to pass that of Inter Milan, but still Premier League teams under perform on the European stage.

David Conn and writers like him have a case to make, but sometimes I think they miss the point of the Premier League.   It is as much about creating a televised entertainment spectacle for global consumption as it is about football.

Players to wear embedded cameras

Spain's FirstVision has created a shirt to be worn by players with an embedded camera at chest level to provide broadcast standard video.   The device has been tested by players in training sessions at Barcelona and by officials in a match between Barcelona and Real Madrid.   The content was distributed by 150 broadcasters.

Sky customers will have to pay up

Sky customers will have to meet part of the cost of the new Premier League television rights deal.  Some reports suggest that subscriptions could go up by as much as £4 a month.

Sky has pledged to reduce its spending by a further £600m over three years, or 17 per cent of its addressable costs, to fund its bid.  Most savings will come from encouraging customers to make inquiries online, rather than phoning its customer call centres.

Unhappy days at Orient

Last season Leyton Orient were contenders for promotion.   This year they are bottom of League 1.  The Italian takeover of the club does not seem to have worked well.  Even team talks are being given in Italian.

In one bizarre development, the club has been given its own reality television show in Italy which could lead to a player contract.   Owner Francesco Becchetti thinks it will raise the profile of the club and perhaps produce good players.

Did Scudamore score an own goal?

There has been plenty of moral outrage at the amount of money coming into the Premier League under the new television deal and the amount of money being paid to its players.   One political economy blog has already asked me to write a suitably indignant piece which really be a less eloquent rendering of the kind of article that David Conn writes so well in The Guardian.

Championship cash boost from tv deal

Once the overseas deals have been completed, total Premier League broadcasting revenue is expected to exceed £8 billion.   As a result, Championship clubs not receiving parachute payments can expect to receive about £5 million per season in solidarity payments, more than double the present £2.3 million.

With average turnover for clubs in the Championship of about £15 million, the £5 million represents a large proportion of income.   They get about £2 million from their own television deal.   Whether the clubs will regard this as enough is unlikely.

Premiership TV bonanza

The amount paid by broadcasters for three years of Premier League television rights from 2016-17 has exceeded all expectations.   Sky and BT agreed to pay £5,16bn over the period: three years ago they paid just £3bn for the rights.   Sky is spending more on its own that the City estimated the whole auction would realise.

The mysteries of the Premier League auction

The first round of the blind auction for Barclays Premier League television rights is now taking place.  The exact rules used are not made public, but it is possible to make an intelligent guess.

Match of the Day gets new lease of life

Alan Shearer will be able to go on admiring big centre forwards until mid-2019 after Match of the Day won the Premier League highlights package.   The BBC made a bid of £204m over three years, 13.5 per cent more than its current deal.

The BBC''s main competitor, ITV, did not bid.   There had been speculation that ITV would use its financial strength to match the BBC.   Its cash flow has been strong in recent months while the BBC has been making programming cuts.