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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2007, 12:27 GMT
Premiership in new 625m TV deal
Wayne Rooney
Players like Wayne Rooney boost overseas viewing figures
The winner of football's Premiership will net 50m from next season after the league agreed a new 625m deal for overseas television rights.

The extra income from the deal means even the team finishing bottom will claim about 26m. Current title holders Chelsea won 30m last season.

The money adds to income from domestic broadcast and internet contracts.

"This deal really does take us on to another level," said Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore.

Overseas appeal

The new contract covers coverage of the 2007/8, 2008/9 and 2009/10 seasons in 208 countries worldwide.

We have a cosmopolitan approach to players and a cosmopolitan approach to ownership and that is paying off
Richard Scudamore
Premier League chief executive

The 625m raised is double that from existing overseas television deals and takes the Premiership's earnings from media rights over the three seasons to more than 2.7bn.

Mr Scudamore said the largest increase in payments for rights had been in the Middle East and in Asia, with the battle to show live games particularly fierce in Hong Kong.

"We have a cosmopolitan approach to players and a cosmopolitan approach to ownership and that is paying off," he said.

"No territories have gone down but in some cases the rights have ended up being sold for three or four times the current amount."

Rights divided

BSkyB and Setanta are sharing the domestic television rights for Premiership matches from next season.

The rivals were successful bidders in an auction to show top-flight games, beginning in the 2007/8 season.

The domestic TV rights auction generated 1.7bn ($3.1bn) for the Premier League, with BSkyB paying 1.3bn for its four packages of games and Setanta 392m for its two.

The gap between the Premiership and the Championship may become wider
Richard Hunter, Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers

Setanta broke Sky's monopoly and has rights to 46 live matches a season, while BSkyB has won the rights to 92 live matches, including the "A" package of games on late Sunday afternoons.

The Premiership's appeal overseas has gone from strength to strength, thanks to high-profile players and the league's reputation for excitement.

"By focusing on the quality of the game, their players and their grounds, the clubs have produced a competition that people want to watch - both at matches and at home," added Mr Scudamore.

"That is the basis of our commercial success and I am confident that we will continue to invest in the best players and facilities to keep the Premier League where it is today - the most watched domestic football competition in the world."

606 DEBATE: The cash keeps coming but what's the cost for English football?

BBC sports editor Mihir Bose said that the big winners of the new deal would be top-flight players and their agents, with supporters and lower league sides unlikely to see any real benefits.

Richard Hunter, of Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, added that extra money for the Premiership could potentially widen the gap between the top flight and the Championship.

"If you have the teams who are getting relegated from the Premiership pocketing 30m then in modern day terms that equates to three to five top players," he told BBC News 24.

"Presumably, if they can replace half their team, that gives them a very good chance of getting promoted again and the gap between the Premiership and the Championship may become wider."

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