UK soccer fans thirst for more on TV than other European countries

LONDON: The recent tender by the FA Premier League for a greater number of live TV rights to Premiership games from the 2004-05 season has brought protests from some fans over the amount of domestic football shown on TV.

However, recent research by sports communications research company SPORT+MARKT has in fact found that the appetite for more football on TV from UK fans is greater than it is in other major European markets.

The results from the latest wave of the SPORT+MARKT European Football Monitor, conducted at the end of the season, found that over a quarter (28 per cent) of football fans aged between 15-69 in the UK feel that there is not enough domestic football on TV. The 12 per cent of football fans who declared that there was too much domestic football on TV was also the lowest among the major markets.

The European Football Monitor has shown that the level of satisfaction among UK football fans at the amount of TV coverage of the domestic game has risen over the years and currently stands at 60 per cent. As the number of subscribers at BSkyB and other subscription TV services grows more people are able to regulate their choice of programming. Therefore those that want to watch football can do so, while those that do not wish to can switch off.

If the all live rights remain the ownership of BSkyB under the new contract starting from August 2004, such assumptions can be maintained. If alternatively, live rights are sold to terrestrial broadcasters, this can provide a potential sponsorship boost to clubs. SPORT+MARKT Oliver Butler said, "The exposure of their sponsors to a potentially higher audience could, with the right evaluation, enable clubs to extract more value out of their sponsorship deals."

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