Earlier this week, the Serie A agreed to a new TV deal that sees the league receive an underwhelming deal. Other leagues across Europe have signed smaller deals, but not the Prem. With the Premier League looking for new TV deals, they will almost surely receive the largest deal imaginable.
TV deals aren’t necessarily the most flashy of deals, but are vital to the revenue of teams. Especially with the uncertainty that COVID caused, greater importance is placed on the money from these deals.
DAZN and Sky won the rights to retain their broadcasting rights of the Serie A. Italian football analysts decried this deal at the moment, noting the decrease in value over the previous deals. Other leagues, such as Ligue 1, have struggled to find reasonable deals.
Now, the Prem is another beast. The world’s greatest show will receive a TV deal that will further solidify the league as sports’ powerhouse. It also raises concerns about the parity in European football and what it will mean for the game as the gap in finances grows.
There is no concrete offer yet for the Premier League, but all signs point to the league continuing to outpace the rest of Europe. Discussions surrounding the rebirth of the Super League will return, but that’s not the solution for this.
“Italian football will die,” noted Aurelio De Laurentiis after the Serie A signed their broadcasting deal this week. While it may be a little dramatic, his concerns are not unfounded.
The deal signed gives the league less than $1 billion a season for the next five seasons. Given the fact that Italian teams reached multiple European finals last season, this is pretty low. A competitive league that has European success got low balled and were forced to accept it.
They’re far from alone, as the French league is on the verge of not even finding a partner. It’s easier to see why Ligue 1 is struggling to find a deal, but this is still a top 5 league. Getting a small deal will almost assuredly push the French league to its death.
Both the German and Spanish leagues clear over a billion dollars, but will not come close to the Prem. Just given their last TV deal, the Prem will see a deal worth over 5 billion.
Premier League executives are already planning on this deal being even more groundbreaking. A larger deal with a longer contract and more guarantees is the aim of the Prem. Given their domination of European football, they’re likely to get whatever they want.
There are real concerns that this growing inequality between leagues will make the Prem an untouchable juggernaut. Even now, no other league can spend like the Prem in Europe and a new TV deal will only keep that going. The sport may not be able to survive this growing gap.
In a way, Italy’s TV deal could be seen as a death knell for every league besides the Prem. It’s a bit dramatic, but this inequality isn’t healthy for the sport.
There is no easy solution to bringing financial parity to European football. However, it may come down to the Super League or financial restrictions.
Every fan remembers where they were when the Super League was announced. This blatant cash grab by the sport’s elite was beautifully countered by fans. With Juventus officially leaving the project earlier this year, the project is dead.
Some are calling for this Super League to be revived in order to create a more “fair” playing field for European clubs. However, any sort of Super League will be built by and for the richest clubs, meaning it’s just welfare for the wealthy. There would be no security for the rest of European clubs and will only bail out the losses suffered by clubs that are worth more than some leagues.
Fans, rightfully, are wary of any sort of Super League as a way to combat the financial inequality of the sport. Perhaps the only real way to combat it is to bring some American sports solutions.
UEFA and the FA have barely cared to punish clubs that violate financial fair play laws. Clubs like Manchester City and PSG are able to skate away without any punishments. If the threat was at all real, clubs may at least think about overspending.
A salary cap isn’t the ideal solution and doesn’t address the issue of clubs overspending. The current financial fair play laws aren’t ideal, but do a better job at addressing the lack of parity. More importantly though, it has to be addressed at the continental level.
There is no solution that can fix everything and it will have to be a collaborative effort at every level. Even if football never had true parity, something has to be done to reign in the behemoth that is the Prem.
If Italy’s new football broadcasting deal means one thing, it’s that the future of football is unclear and fragile. While the Prem may be fine, there are clear cracks starting to appear across European football. When the Prem’s new TV deal is announced, it will be incredibly lucrative, but it may break football.
Featured image: Al Jazeera