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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 December, 2003, 07:23 GMT
TV winners and losers
Cameraman in action
The Premier League reached an agreement with the European Commission on Tuesday over its deal with Sky for the rights to broadcast matches live.

Eight games per season will now be made available for free-to-air broadcasters to cover.

Here, football consultant Alex Fynn, who advised the Football Association on the formation of the Premier League, outlines who comes out best from the compromise.

The fans

Armchairs fans will get to see more games. Fans who have paid subscriptions for pay television games or pay-per-view matches will still get to see them.

They, along with fans who do not subscribe to those packages, will also be able to see an extra eight games a season on a terrestial channel.

As for fans going to games, they are unlikely to see any reduction in ticket prices from this deal.

Because the clubs' television money has been ring-fenced, there ought to be a reduction in ticket prices, but that is unlikely to happen as clubs are selling out each week, and keen to maximise their income.

European Commission

The European Commission has made some concessions during the negotiations.

The Commission had objected to central selling whereby the Premier League sold the rights to interested parties, exclusivity of contracts and the restriction in the number of televised games shown.

The Commission has now accepted the principle of centralised selling because that benefits both big and small clubs.

However, the Commission has ensured there will be some Premier League football on free-to-air television.

Premier League

It's not the best technical league in the world, but as arguably the most entertaining and the richest, it has been able to earn the highest income from television companies.

The Premier League has set a benchmark for other countries in terms of getting value for money for the clubs, and that is unlikely to change.


Beaming into seven million-plus homes, BSkyB remains the most successful pay television operator in Europe.

Importantly, the company has retained its dominance over Premier League football. At the very worst another broadcaster gets to show a few games, but BSkyB will still broadcast 90%-plus of them.

The question is, will they want to renegotiate their deal given it has technically lost exclusivity to live rights?

Terrestrial channels

The deal does not have huge significance for the free-to-air broadcasters.

BSkyB is paying 3.5m for each game.

Channel 5 might pay that much as a loss-leader to bring in viewers, but not ITV or the BBC. There is an outside chance Channel 4 might be interested.

The BBC and ITV's football strategy is based on season-long campaigns.

For the BBC, that means the return of Match of the Day and Premiership highlights, the FA Cup and England internationals, while ITV are concentrating on the Champions League.

So both might view these eight other games as some extra meat, but only at the right price.

The 20 Premier League clubs

The clubs claim the money they receive from television rights is the difference between being able to thrive or going into administration.

Approximately 40% of their total income comes from television, and the EU deal should have no impact on that.

The eight games to be shown

If BSkyB is paying 90% of the money to the Premier League, then it is only right they should keep the best games for their channels.

It is likely the eight terrestial games would feature one of the top teams, but it is unlikely they would be playing against another big club.

Future television deals

If you have a good product, then you can maintain your value. There is no doubt that the Premier League has a top-quality product.

After the 2004-2007 deal ends, it is likely is the income the clubs receive will stay the same, and perhaps even rise, but more games will be made available to television companies.

Elsewhere in Europe, you can watch every game that is being played.

And it is possible from 2007 onwards, armchair fans will be able to watch every Premier League game.

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