Television networks and football fans haven’t always seen eye to eye. From changing fixture schedules to divided subscription services, the Premier League’s business features have taken some shine off the on-field magic of the sport itself.
However, in June the prize money income earnings were announced for all 20 Premier League clubs in the 2014/15 season. With massive money pouring in from BT Sport, Sky Sports and all over the world, the digits were staggering and the potential repercussions tantalizing.
With domestic and international television rights income divided equally across the board, the only difference in income between clubs depended on merit (table position) and domestic coverage percentage, which obviously favoured the bigger clubs.
Chelsea were the highest beneficiaries (over £98 million) compared to the lowest earners QPR (who still earned a measly £64 million). While these stats do still give the elite clubs the advantage, that extra pocket money has taken its effect on the league.
The current Premier League table is evidence of that. Leicester City miraculously climbed out of the bottom three last season to escape relegation. Who could have possibly imagined that they could have graced the top of the Premier League after 15 rounds with Jamie Vardy as golden boot?
The money has done wonderful things to the competitiveness of the Premier League this season. It has meant Everton could hold onto Lukaku, Barkley and Stones and build a competitive squad. It has meant Stoke City now boast more Champions League winning players than any other team in England. It has even meant that the top clubs haven’t had to forfeit their top class players to Spain in the same vein as Luis Suarez or Gareth Bale (though Eden Hazard may be regretting his decision to stay at Chelsea).
With sports betting accounts running dry and tipping comps turned on their head all over the world this season, some have seen this improvement in the underdogs as a negative. However, as the world’s most watched league in the world’s most loved sport, isn’t it better to be captivated, surprised and entertained every week than know which games will be right-offs?
The rumour mill has been in full swing in December and now is usually when managers and fans begin crossing fingers and toes that star players choose to stick around. Here’s hoping this January that Vardy stays at Leicester, Stones stays at Everton, relegation battlers continue to push the table-toppers and ultimately 2015/16 becomes the most enticing finish to a Premier League season in a long, long time.