Reds seeking TV rights overhaul

The league’s broadcast rights outside of the United Kingdom are

presently sold in a joint package, which is worth £3.2billion

for 2010-13 to be shared equally among the 20 clubs. But Ayre

claims the system is unfair on the higher-profile clubs, arguing

they attract more viewers and more subscriptions, and advocated the

adoption of the Spanish model. There, individual clubs have the

freedom to negotiate their own packages, meaning Real Madrid and

Barcelona’s earnings will dwarf those of the lesser Primera

Division teams – and those of the top English sides, who are

restricted to their share of the league’s earnings. Ayre told the

Guardian: “Personally I think the game-changer is going out and

recognising our brand globally. Maybe the path will be individual

TV rights like they do in Spain. “If you’re a Bolton fan in Bolton,

then you subscribe to Sky because you want to watch Bolton. But if

you’re in Kuala Lumpur there isn’t anyone subscribing to Astro or

ESPN to watch Bolton, or if they are it’s a very small number. The

large majority are subscribing to watch Liverpool, Manchester

United, Chelsea or Arsenal. “What we are actually doing is

disadvantaging ourselves against other big European clubs. If Real

Madrid or Barcelona or other big European clubs have the

opportunity to realise their international media value potential,

where does that leave Liverpool and Manchester United? We’ll just

share ours because we’ll all be nice to each other? The whole

phenomenon of the Premier League could be threatened. “If they just

get bigger and bigger and they generate more and more, then all the

players will start drifting that way and will the Premier League

bubble burst because we are sticking to this equal-sharing model?

It’s a real debate that has to happen.”