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SBD Global/June 18, 2012/Media
BT 'Gambles' On EPL TV Deal While Fans Could Pay For It
Published June 18, 2012
NOT EVERYONE WINS: Meanwhile, ADVANCED TELEVISIONS's Chris Forrester wrote that investment banker Goldman Sachs already believes Virgin Media "will be hurt" by the Sky/BT TV deal. Goldman Sachs downgraded Virgin Media from a "buy" rating to "neutral." The company said, “We believe BT’s decision to invest in high quality U.K. football rights could lower product differentiation between BT and VMED and also increases the risk of a loss of price rationality in the U.K. triple play market" (ADVANCEDTELEVISION.com, 6/15).
FANS PAY PRICE: In London, Patrick Collins wrote that when the new TV deal was announced, "football's cottage industries lifted grateful glasses." From "cosmetic surgeons and night club owners to the champagne houses of Bollinger and Pol Roger, to the frock shops of Armani and Versace, to the estate agents of rural Cheshire," they all realised just what this meant -- "business as usual." And who is paying the price "for this orgy of unreasoning largesse?" Sky has enjoyed "massive profits through their association with football." Those profits "will grow, since prices will rise to cover their costs." And, in a time of recession, this incredible windfall "could be used by the clubs to slash seat prices to bring them within the reach of lower income supporters." I "doubt this has even crossed their minds" (DAILY MAIL, 6/16). Also in London, Danny Kelly asked "why did the announcement of the bulging new bag of money cause not the popping of champagne corks, but a sinking feeling in the stomach?" Each successive football contract "has further sundered the traditional relationship between the game and its core support, has driven an ever-bigger wedge between what we had, a community-based passion, and what we have, a corporate entertainment." Football's "unstoppable economic boom" has had "obvious beneficiaries" including the players and their agents. For supporters, the experience "has been very different." For all the excitement they still get from the game, they "find themselves in the grip of an awful pincer movement." Emotionally, they are "further removed from things they originally loved about the sport" – the feeling of "being part of something organic and real," the knowledge that the players were "slightly better paid versions of themselves." The "other arm of the pincers is financial." Football was once "great and cheap to watch." It is still great, but now "you pay through every orifice to enjoy it" (GUARDIAN, 6/16).