Leading Premier League clubs should be able to negotiate individual overseas TV right deals – according to Liverpool’s managing director, Ian Ayre. In an interview with the Guardian, Ayre is quoted as saying English sides could be left behind their European rivals if they continue to be tied down to a collective agreement – the latest of which expires in 2013.
In Spain, despite negotiations continuing over a move to collective selling, Barcelona and Real Madrid are currently able to negotiate individual contracts. The two Spanish giants collect significantly more in television revenue than their Premier League rivals.
The broadcasting deal for overseas rights in the Premiership is currently worth £1.4bn to the 20 clubs, with matches shown around the globe, in 212 countries.
Ayre said: ‘Is it right that the international rights are shared equally between all the clubs? What we are doing is disadvantaging ourselves against top European clubs’.
Under current Premier League rules, 14 teams would need to vote in favour of any new arrangements, and the managing director believes that Liverpool – along with Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal – deserve to receive an increased share.
Ayre added: ‘What is absolutely certain is that, with the greatest of respect to our colleagues in the Premier League, if you’re a Bolton fan in Bolton, then you subscribe to Sky because you want to watch Bolton. Everyone gets that’.
‘Likewise, if you’re a Liverpool fan from Liverpool, you subscribe. But if you’re in Kuala Lumpur there isn’t anyone subscribing to Astro, or ESPN, to watch Bolton, or if they are it’s a very small number. Whereas the large majority are subscribing because they want to watch Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal’.
‘So is it right that the international rights are shared equally between all the clubs? Some people will say: “Well you’ve got to all be in it to make it happen”. But isn’t it really about where the revenue is coming from, which is the broadcaster, and isn’t it really about who people want to watch on that channel? We know it is us. And others’. [Source: Sport Industry Biz]