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SBD Global/June 18, 2013/International Football

Rupert Murdoch's Proposed Summer Football League Faces Several Obstacles

When the Premier League abandoned plans to play a "39th Game" overseas, it "was always likely" that an entrepreneur somewhere "would take up the opportunity to profit from the game's global appeal," according to Glenn Moore of the London INDEPENDENT. With the league's TV income from foreign broadcasters now rivaling that from domestic sources, Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox "is reported to have decided the time is ripe." Fox is "said to be planning a summer competition featuring leading clubs from Europe and, possibly, beyond." Murdoch "has long used sport as a battering-ram to drive subscription rates and viewing figures." However, creating a new football tournament "has significant problems," chiefly in making it competitively significant. Clubs such as Man City, ManU, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus "already tour extensively during the off-season." With the leading Premier League and Spanish clubs able to earn up to £125M ($196M) from domestic and European commitments, the sums on offer would "have to be huge to risk draining their leading players ahead of the main season." Broadcasters "would only be prepared to pay enough to finance that if they were sure they could attract enough subscribers to cover the cost" (INDEPENDENT, 6/17).
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