Premier League clubs set for international TV revenues decision in June
The clubs in English soccer’s Premier League are expected to make a decision on the distribution of international broadcasting rights revenues this summer, having failed to reach an agreement last year.
Last October, the league’s executive chairman Richard Scudamore put forward a proposal for 35 per cent of the international television money in the next cycle, from 2019-20 to 2021-22, to be distributed according to ‘merit’, namely where clubs finish in the final league.
At present, the proceeds are shared equally between all the members.
However, no vote took place as it became apparent that the change would not get the necessary support.
Scudamore (pictured) is reported to have met with the 20 clubs last week and informed them that the issue must be resolved by the time of the league’s annual general meeting in June.
At least 14 clubs must give their backing for any changes to Premier League rules.
The so-called ‘big six’ of new champions Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur have been pushing for a greater share of the international TV rights revenues.
Once deemed negligible, these are worth around £3 billion ($4 billion) in the present three-year cycle that ends in 2018-19, while UK pay-TV broadcasters Sky and BT Sport are paying a combined £5.1 billion for the domestic live rights.
In February, Sky and BT renewed their rights deals to 2021-22 with the incumbents paying a total of £4.464 billion, to date £700 million less than they are paying in the current cycle.
Some 40 live games per season for the cycle from 2019-20 to 2021-22 are still to be sold.
International rights are set to increase in value once again in the next cycle, and the 'big six' believe they should reap the benefits because they are the teams fans around the world tune in to watch.
However, the other 14 clubs have insisted it is only through the current distribution model that they are able to sign well-known international players in order to stay competitive and keep the league attractive to viewers.
Under the league’s present revenue distribution rules, 50 per cent of UK broadcast revenue is split equally between the 20 clubs, 25 per cent (the ‘facility fee’) is paid according to the number of times a club’s matches are broadcast in the UK and the remaining 25 per cent (the ‘merit payment’) is based on where a club finishes in the final league table.
The even split of international TV money resulted in £39.1 million going to each Premier League club in 2016-17.
That helped to ensure that Sunderland, which finished bottom of the league last season, earned £93.5 million, while champions Chelsea pocketed £150.8 million.