YOU ONLY GET WHAT MAR­KET WILL PAY...

The Football League Paper - - CHRIS DUNLAVY -

YOU can’t fault Cham­pi­onship clubs for want­ing a big­ger slice of Sky’s cash. They are be­ing shafted.

Take Leeds. In Eng­land, only Manch­ester City, Arse­nal, Chelsea and Spurs have had a greater per­cent­age of their games shown on TV this sea­son.

At the start of the sea­son, those clubs each re­ceived £47m and will get a fur­ther £1.9m for ev­ery match tele­vised af­ter the tenth live broad­cast.

Leeds – who have al­ready been on live six times and se­lected by Sky for a fur­ther eight games this sea­son – were chucked a measly £2.3m, plus a hun­dred grand for ev­ery home game.

Yet those fig­ures do not re­flect the club’s value to Sky. In the 2017-18 sea­son, the broad­caster at­tracted an av­er­age au­di­ence of 819,000 per Pre­mier League match. For Leeds games, that fig­ure was 361,583.

In other words, Sky are cur­rently pay­ing five per cent of the rev­enue for 44 per cent of the view­ers.

Even un­der the pro­posed new terms – up from £90m to £119m per sea­son over the next five years – that dis­par­ity would re­main.

It’s a ter­ri­ble deal, patently un­fair, and worse again when you con­sider that Sky now show mid­week games for free on the red but­ton with­out any kind of ad­di­tional pay­ment to cover a demon­stra­ble drop in at­ten­dances.

Yet this week’s threat to form a break­away league – led by Leeds, Derby, and As­ton Villa – rings hol­low.

Be­cause any prod­uct – a house, a car, TV rights – is only as valu­able as the amount some­body is pre­pared to pay for it.

And for all the ex­cite­ment and un­pre­dictabil­ity, the EFL just ain’t a hot prop­erty. At the last round of ne­go­ti­a­tions, Sky were the soli­tary bid­der. No BT Sport. No Ama­zon Prime. No Google.

High­lights, mean­while, have been given up with­out much of a fight from the BBC to Chan­nel 5, to Quest.

If Leeds or Villa did ditch the deal and take their prod­uct to the open mar­ket, why would that change? Sky have the Cham­pi­onship over a bar­rel, and sadly there’s lit­tle to do but lie there and get spanked.

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