The Dominion Post
Greed or good? Super League questions
The plan for a Super League is shaping up as perhaps the most polarising idea in European football in more than a generation.
The project by 12 breakaway clubs would make winners and losers worldwide if it overcomes widespread resistance and kicks off as soon as August. Here’s a look at some of the things at stake:
Who benefits from the Super League?
Club owners: The few people driving the 20-team competition plan hope to see the value of team equity and shares soar. Share prices in Juventus and Manchester United rose more than 10 per cent yesterday.
Most owners are already billionaires. The 12 rebel clubs already have the highest revenues in world football, earning hundreds of millions of dollars from playing in domestic leagues and selling sponsorships globally.
The founding clubs aim to at least triple their Champions League income from the Super League without the risk of failing to qualify. The new competition, underwritten by financiers at JP Morgan, should offset the risk of losing domestic income. The owners’ status could also soar. Instead of having a seat at Uefa’s decision-making tables, they will run their own show with equal shares in a new Super League Company.
Top player’s salaries: More club income should mean salary raises for players – and a cut for their agents, inevitably.
The Super League shapes to create a two-tier salary structure in European football separating the clubs in and those left behind.
Fans outside Europe: Research by the rebel clubs shows there are potentially hundreds of millions of new followers in Asia and North America. Many follow more than one high-profile team, want to see them play each other more often, and maybe identify as supporters of individual star players instead of a club. This is heresy to home-based fans who typically support their local team they grew up going to watch with family and friends. The Super League project is smitten with attracting fans – and their money – further afield.
New broadcasters: A new competition would create a new market to sell games featuring the world’s best players.
Who loses from a Super League?
Uefa: The Champions League organisers would lose status and most of the clubs with the widest worldwide appeal to fans, broadcasters and sponsors.
The European football body already sold most of around US$14 billion (NZ$19.5 billion) in expected commercial revenue for the next three years of its club competitions through 2024. That was on the promise of the best clubs and players taking part.
Playing hardball with the 12 clubs, as Uefa President Aleksander Ceferin did yesterday, also opens the door to unpredictable legal battles. It could start with weighing whether to kick out five Super League clubs from the Champions League and Europa League semifinals that open next week.
Other leagues, teams and players: The Super League damages ambitions on the field and financial prospects off it for thousands of players, hundreds of clubs and dozens of leagues across Europe. Domestic games risk losing attention and appeal if the Super League cuts itself off – or is cut off by Uefa and other football bodies – from the game’s pyramid structure.
Fans in Europe: They are known to the rebel 12 as ‘‘legacy fans,’’ who they seem to be taking for granted. These are homebased fans who typically care for tradition and resist change.
Some would lose domestic rivalries. All would face more expensive away trips involving a flight and hotel instead of by road or rail.
The backlash since Monday suggests the clubs also have a big part of their reputations to lose.
Champions League broadcasters: Dozens of channels have bought and planned for three seasons of the highest quality club competition in world football. Uefa said it will keep going ahead with the Champions League ‘‘with our without’’ the 12.
That would leave broadcasters paying a top-tier price for games lacking the best players subscribers and advertisers prefer to see.