Championship under threat over new TV deal

Image via: Flickr. Photographer: Nick

By Alex Hall

Leeds United, Derby County and Aston Villa among 15 Championship clubs threatening to break away from the EFL with Sky’s new five-year deal.

The Championship is known to be one of the most competitive leagues in Europe as all teams in the division are capable of rivalling for a place in the Premier League, but reports have suggested that things could be about to change, with 15 clubs left angered at the finances of the new deal that Sky have proposed.

Currently, Championship clubs receive £2.3 million each per season from Sky for their TV coverage of games and even though this figure will rise to £2.95 million with the introduction of the new deal at the start of the 2019-20 season, clubs believe they should be getting double the figure suggested.

With more than half of the division’s teams considering a breakaway from the arrangement, a meeting was called, and the clubs have now been given until Monday to reconsider the offer.

Leeds United FC owner Andrea Radrizzani has spoken out about the issue and proposed creating a ‘Premier League 2’ saying that “Maybe they need to consider another way to create value, Premier League 2 or something, that is sustainable even for the people who are not promoted”.

However, a Football League chairman stated that “I am told that the Premier League are not interested in linking up with them and I’m not sure how any new stand-alone league could work.” In consequence, this means that the idea of breakaway from the EFL looks unlikely.

Finances in football, in recent years, have skyrocketed with players becoming ever more expensive, not only to buy, but also to have on the pay roll. Therefore, it is not surprising that the likes of big clubs such as Leeds are requesting more money as they look to attract new players to gain promotion to the Premier League in the near future.

Another concern is the severe difference between broadcast payments of Premier League clubs contrasting with Championship payments, with top flight teams receiving at least £100 million from broadcasting deals. Consequently, huge gaps form with the likes of West Bromwich Albion getting relegated last season, with a significant budget in comparison to the Championship clubs that didn’t get promotion and additionally the League 1 teams who gained promotion, who receive even less from broadcasting agreements.

Championship clubs also have concerns about their matches appearing on Sky’s red button, a feature which was introduced for Football fans at the start of this season to allow supporters to view more games. This has supposedly reduced stadium attendances meaning not only a decrease in atmosphere but also a loss of income.

When the new deal goes ahead next season, Sky will be able to show 183 live matches per season, plus play-off matches and finals, and another 80 matches across digital and interactive platforms.

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