On Tuesday, the English Premier League announced that Sky Sports and BT Sport would retain the league’s domestic television rights at a staggering cost: About $7.9 billion over three years starting in the 2016-17 season, a 70 percent increase over what they’re currently paying. And when international rights are factored in, the league is expected take in about $13 billion over the course of the deal, or around $4.3 billion per year.
For comparison’s sake, the NFL earns about $3 billion per year from its television deal, while the NBA will take in about $2.66 billion per year when its new television deal begins in the 2016-17 season.
EPL teams, obviously, are thrilled. As the Guardian reports, even the league’s last-place team will receive around $152 million annually, while the champion should rake in about $240 million. And with more television money comes higher salaries for players. “Previous increases in TV rights income have tended to lead to a commensurate increase in wages,” the Guardian’s Owen Gibson writes.
That last point has other European soccer leagues worried that the world’s top stars will flock to England, leaving everyone else behind. Here’s Bernard Caiazzo, co-president of French club Saint-Etienne, in the Guardian:
The Premier League will become the NBA of football. It will be greater than the Champions League. Clubs such as Manchester United or Chelsea will have budgets of €700 or €800m,” he was quoted as saying in the French media. “What is happening in England will impact on Germany, Italy, Spain. And I do not imagine that Uefa will not react. But there will be a greater attention if the request comes from Bayern [Munich], Real [Madrid] , Barcelona or Milan instead of St Etienne.
Caiazzo called on UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, “to take action to stop the Premier League” from amassing so much power, the Guardian writes.
Christian Seifert, CEO of the German Football League (DFL), echoed Caiazzo’s sentiments, calling the EPL’s future windfall “a challenge for our league, for the DFL and for the clubs, which we have to confront,” he told Bild.
Javier Tebas, president of La Liga in Spain, also voiced his concern that the EPL will gobble up the world’s soccer royalty.
“We have a serious problem. We won’t be the best league in a year,” Tebas said, per the BBC. “We’re going to lose a lot of value in the market because the Premier League is going to snap up all of the global TV competition and contracts.”
La Liga is the only top European league in which individual clubs negotiate their own television contracts, which creates an imbalance between the top clubs — Real Madrid is the world’s richest club, while Barcelona ranks fourth — and the rest because the powerhouses generate far more television revenue (10 times more than the least-valuable club, the Daily Mail reports). This week, Espanyol President Joan Collet said the league’s teams are willing to strike unless the Spanish government passes a law requiring the league to negotiate its television rights as a whole, splitting the revenue equally.