£275,761,860 was shared equally between the 20 teams that competed in last season’s Premier League, this is the money paid by domestic (UK) television companies. A further £375,292,880 was also shared equally between the 20 teams that competed in last season’s Premier League, this is the money paid by overseas television companies. £32,552,737 per Premier League side on just TV payments alone. Now it is not just top flight sides who are seriously affected by the media.
As a Leicester City fan you may not expect me to be directly affected by TV, however this season alone 9 games have been televised live, which could rise due to Play-Off ambitions and FA Cup participation. Out of these 9 games, 9 have had times and also dates changed to allow Sky/ESPN cameras to attend. This is where the media side of football has a negative effect. One game in particular (Leicester City vs Middlesbrough) was played in front of just 8585 supporters, if you watched this game you may remember the treacherous conditions in which it was played in, and the reason it was played may have something to do with the fact that a 19:30 Friday night slot on Sky Sports 1 had to be filled.
Media in football is not all bad though; it allows many people to follow their side without traveling all over the country. 26 out of the 38 games played by Manchester United in the Premier League last season were shown live on television and without this 100,000s of people would have been unable to view the game. Without media, you would not be reading this, I would not have access to the majority of statistics used in this blog and this is where media is a beautiful influence on football.
The question will still arise as to whether football matches should be moved for TV purposes and it is one that does not have a definitive answer. In order to get your own opinion you need to weigh up both the advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand you have the access to football matches around the world, 20 years ago I would not be sat here with the ability to watch Shamrock Rovers play a friendly but fast forward to today and I can. 20 years ago I would not be able to follow @OfficialFoxes for regular updates regarding Leicester City. 20 years ago I would not be able to see an interview from Wes Morgan regarding preparation for Saturday’s match. However 10 years ago, Saturday 3pm was for football, games were not played on a Thursday night at 7:45pm, stadiums were not left empty, fans were not watching from their sofas, fans were attending football matches. To the chairmen and chairwomen of a football club, it may not matter whether the money comes from the fans or ESPN, but to us, the heart of a football club it does matter.
I do not have a specific opinion on media in football, you may struggle to find someone who does, but I understand that media has to exist in football as it is a key factor in our beautiful game surviving. We may have to put up with the change in fixture times if we want our game to survive and continue as it is now, unlike any other sport in Britain which is what makes it the beautiful game, but we cannot roll over; do that and we face our game becoming similar to American Football, adverts at every corner, 15:00 – 17:00 on a Saturday will become 15:00 – 19:00.
Can we afford to allow that to happen? No we can not.
Can we afford to lose our media funding? No we can not.
We must meet an agreement, a place in which we can both live happily together.
Written By Samuel Martin @SmuelMartin