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Overseas TV rights payments to remain equally split

Despite the desires of the richest to get richer, for now at least it’ll be status quo.

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One thing about rich people: they like being rich. They like being rich, staying rich, and above all, getting richer. It’s in their blood. Sports teams are the same. The existence of the Premier League is a testament to that - it’s a league that was started on the principle of not sharing money with the lesser fortunate teams in the country, and hoarding all the resources for themselves.

And that has worked spectacularly well, at least at the top end - the London clubs, the Manchester clubs, and to a lesser extent Liverpool have become billion dollar-plus enterprises since 1992, largely because of TV money. In the last few years, that money has started rolling in in a significant way not just domestically, but from abroad as well - here in the US, NBC pays a goodly amount for the right to broadcast matches, and while other countries don’t pay as much as the US, the number of countries who pay a rights fee to the league is growing every year, thus growing the pot of money for Premier League clubs.

That pot of overseas money has gotten so big that the biggest of the big clubs have decided they want more of it, because that’s how these things work now. Currently, that money is split into 20 equal shares and distributed evenly, but the Big Six (Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester United, Manchester City, and Liverpool) decided that fair wasn’t fair and tried to work it so that 35% of that money is pooled and given on the basis of finishing position instead.

Not surprisingly, the Little 14 didn’t think this was a good idea, and the resultant stalemate means that, at least for now, the overseas TV money will continue to be distributed equally among all the teams in the Premier League. I’m under no illusion that this will be a permanent state of affairs; “the rich get richer” isn’t just a meaningless cliche, after all. But it’s nice that for now a bone has been thrown to the little guys.