If das Deutsche can do it, then by Jove, the English won’t be left behind. With Saturday seeing the Bundesliga set to become the first major European league to restart with six honest-to-goodness matches of actual football, the Premier League finds itself, against all odds, moving inexorably towards its own restart.
While terms like “integrity of the competition” and “national morale boost” have been trotted out ad nauseum as rationales for completing the league season, the weightiest factor is most certainly the £726m in broadcast revenue that would need to be repaid were any non-playing solution implemented.
However, reporting suggests that even the risking of both player safety and the public health could still see Premier League clubs clipped by financial disaster even if they manage to avoid a head-on collision. The Mirror has revealed that Premier League officials are close to finalizing a compromise with broadcasters to repay £340m of the funds distributed due to matches “not taking place as expected.”
The complaints from TV companies refer to proposals in the league’s Project Restart plan to finish the season requiring matches to be conducted without fans behind closed door games, robbing stadiums of the atmosphere viewers love.
Additionally, the need to cram the remaining 92 matches into the three-a-day goalgasm of football will result in many games being aired at less lucrative, off-peak times than were originally scheduled. It is therefore understood that broadcasters are naturally concerned that the “product” will not garner as many eyeballs as in normal times.
The Mirror goes on to report that Sky and BT Sport are said to be negotiating with the Premier League to work out a separate deal. The two domestic TV rights holders have both shed massive amounts of subscribers without live sports to offer and will be itching to start winning back customers with the promise of a June 19 restart.
Even so, it can be assumed that this represents the beginning of the end of the football TV money gravy train as the balance of power shifts in a post-coronavirus world from the free-spending Premier League clubs to back to content distributors.
Just make sure there aren’t any excuses when it comes time for the checks clear for #timowerner2020 and #mbappe2021.