AND IT’S LIVE! LIVE! LIVE! LIVE! LIVE!
Here we go, here we go, here we go, this is it. Monday was Premier League TV rights announcement day in the UK, and this time, just like any other time since 1992, Sky took the majority of the matches on offer, with TNT hoovering up the scraps. For £6.7bn, the TV conglomerates will bring The Best League in the World™ to its domestic audience. Left on the shelf are Amazon. Signing up for free delivery of books, bleach, coffee, bedsheets and whatever flotsam and jetsam drops through the door in oversized cardboard will this week give them the right to watch a full programme of 10 Premier League matches. Now, please rate the packaging.
Once next season is done, another round of speculation can begin over when the likes of Jeff Bezos, Apple (tech company, not the Fabs) or even TwiXer business genius Elon Musk will start broadcasting Wolves v Bournemouth into viewers’ eyes. Until then, the ancient regime rules OK. The streaming revolution is not yet here. And let’s, for the moment, ignore that cloud on the horizon known as “cord cutting”. For what those in the trade call “linear TV”, the Premier League is a vital commodity for companies whose bottom line depends on subscriptions. The overall deal only hands a 4% rise in overall revenue for the clubs, hardly inflationary in these Tough Economic Times but does include a 70% rise in coverage for Sky, rising from 128 matches to a whopping 215 minimum. TNT, who will share their midweek rights for Big Cup, Big Vase and Tin Pot with Amazon from next season, stick with their same haul of 52.
How that breaks down is that every game that’s not a Saturday 3pm kick-off will be “and it’s live!” That sacred time continues to be shrouded in the blackout that makes little sense to some, while others declare the pyramid below the big boys must be protected. To take last week’s Super Sunday, Manchester City 3-3 Tottenham was preceded by, er, West Ham 1-1 Crystal Palace, a game as forgettable as a temporary passcode. Meanwhile the overseas audience was being thrilled to the gills by Liverpool 4-3 Fulham. From summer 2025, UK remotes would be able to switch to Anfield.
So, all the football, all the time, except Saturday at 3pm. One for the ad copywriters to work on, perhaps. And protectionism in action, since showing so much flippin’ football – from next season Sky have a deal to show 1,000 (!) Football League matches per season – might avert those warriors of civil disobedience who tune into foreign channels from TVs fixed up by Dodgy Dave on Telegram or use the sons of IraqGoals from links launched off Elon’s baby. Next and final question: can there be too much football on TV? Anyone who sat through West Ham v Palace already knows the answer.
LIVE ON BIG WEBSITE
Join Sarah Rendell at 7.45pm GMT for updates on Scotland 1-3 England in the Nations League while Rob Smyth will have goal updates on Luton 1-4 Arsenal (8.15pm) and Wolves 2-1 Burnley (7.30pm) in his Premier League clockwatch.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“He’s part of Sheffield United history. One thing I always like to do, not just in football but all of my businesses, is to keep a good relationship with my ex-employees no matter how it ended, I think you should get over it. Chris [Wilder] has done great things for the club and in my opinion he’s the best guy on planet earth to take over the club right now” – Sheffield United owner Prince Abdullah there, with words that could never come back to haunt him. No siree.
Having stayed up until the wee small hours to watch Spurs away to City live, I was thrilled and astounded by their intestinal fortitude in forcing a draw with City, playing with five automatic first-choice selections missing. One could describe it as a Spurs second XI. Ange Postecoglou has, in an incredibly short time, transformed the turgid, defensive yet fragile low-block play of the past several seasons, into a side that dares and is a great pleasure to watch, win lose or draw. As an ex-Brit now a proud flamin’ Aussie, go Ange, go Spurs and no more, ‘Lads, it’s Spurs’” – Richard Fernandez (and no other fate-tempting Tottenham fans).
There were some strange results on Sunday – any chance club Christmas parties have started?” – John De la Cruz.
Football Daily has a toddler (yesterday’s Football Daily)? Wow!” – David Fisk.
Send any letters to email@example.com. Today’s letter o’ the day winner is … David Fisk, who gets a copy of Pretty Polly: The History of the Football Shirt, published by Pitch Publishing. Visit their brilliant football book store here.