From the Indie
The Premier League confirmed yesterday that it has sold its next set of overseas television rights for £625m, double the previous amount.
The new contracts, which cover 208 countries from 2007 to 2010 inclusive, will increase the League's total prize pot to £2.725bn over the next three seasons, guaranteeing the Premiership's winners £50m in those years from central funds alone. Even the club which finishes bottom of the Premiership will earn £27m from next season. In the current three-year rights cycle, which finishes at the end of this season, the champions earn around £30m from the League, and the bottom club around £17m.
Richard Scudamore, the Premier League's chief executive, is expected to give more details about the overseas deals today from Mumbai, India, where he is also due to announce League plans to invest some of the new cash in football projects in deprived areas around the world. One such project will promote youth football in a poor suburb of Mumbai. Others will be located in similar places where the League can bestow charity and raise its brand awareness simultaneously. The League will invest "millions" in the projects, according to a spokesperson, but no detail has been provided yet.
Overseas rights earned the League £310m for the 2004-07 seasons, and a memo to League clubs last month revealed that figure would surpass £600m next time. One of the reasons for the growth is that the League previously sold overseas rights via a broker. This time it has negotiated directly with broadcasters around the world, meaning a hike in its own earnings at a time when Premiership football is still growing in popularity anyway. The conclusion of the deals has pushed the figure to £625m.
"By focusing on the quality of the game, their players and their grounds, [Premiership] clubs have produced a competition that people want to watch - both at matches and at home," Scudamore said.
The League's £2.725bn prize pot for the next three years is made up of £1.7bn from domestic rights sold to Sky and Setanta, £400m from highlights for broadcast on the internet and mobile phones, plus the overseas rights money.