TV rights slump explored in Sportcal's European soccer report

MUMBAI: At least three of Europe?s top five soccer leagues will shortly have to begin negotiating the sale of their television rights in a market in which there is likely to be only one pay-television bidder.

This information is contained in The European Soccer Report published by The report examines the level of rights fees that the leagues expect to achieve in the new negotiations as well as the manner in which alternative approaches to packaging and selling their rights would affect these figures.

Combined with the worldwide slump in the value of television sports rights, takeovers, mergers and bankruptcies among Europe?s pay and pay-per-view broadcasters look certain to hit leagues and clubs in England, Italy, Spain, Germany and France.

The report scrutinises the commercial prospects of the five top European soccer leagues through editorial analysis and previously unpublished facts, figures and projections. The report sets the analysis in the context of the explosion in television sports rights values over the past few years, and of the other major sources of revenue for leagues and clubs, including sponsorship, merchandising, ticket sales and the exploitation of new media rights.

The report notes that in a country of 18.5 million cable homes, Germany?s Bundesliga is seriously limiting its potential television market by only broadcasting its matches via satellite

Meanwhile Spain?s Primera Liga could earn an extra ?100 million a year for its television rights, if it ended the practice of making one match a week available to free-to-air television. In India, the matches can be seen on ESPN Star Sports.

The disparity between the television rights income of Italy?s larger and smaller clubs threatens the stability and competitiveness of Serie A. Meanwhile with no obvious rival for the English Premier League?s rights, British Sky Broadcasting can name its own price for renewing its existing deal unless the league makes a convincing threat to set up its own channel. The French Ligue 1 is the most economically stable of the five leagues.

The report also provides a omparison of the relative dependency of the leagues on television rights income compared with other revenue streams such as sponsorship and matchday income. It also includes detailed breakdowns of crucial statistics for each league and its broadcaster, including sponsorship, gate income, attendances and pay-television and pay-per-view subscription charges.

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