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TV Deal Boost

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 23/07/2000

TV Deal Boost

News From 18th June 2000

On Digital logo Grimsby Town will receive almost £2m a year starting in the 2001-2002 season in a new TV and Internet broadcasting deal. The deal follows a joint ONdigital/ITV arrangement to screen Nationwide league football, taking over from BSkyB.

As a first division club, the Mariners are guaranteed at least £1.7m under the new arrangements and maybe more depending how often their games are broadcast.

In addition the Nationwide League clubs have agreed a further deal with NTL to pool the clubs official sites under a common umbrella, with all the sites adopting a similar look and navigation system. The web site deal is worth a further £65m to the clubs, with the money being distributed partly in relation to how may page hits each site receives.

The TV deal alone, which lasts for 3 years, is expected to give first division clubs a minimum of around £1.4m each per season.

The double boost is great news for the Mariners, who are currently losing £15,000 a week, and are desperate for cash just to get through the next season (probably the last ever at Blundell Park), never mind signing new players and extending contracts. The extra money, albeit not due for over a year, should help to ease this burden. With the team hopefully by then playing in a modern new stadium, they are likely to attract more live games than they currently do under the BSkyB arrangement, as Blundell Park is not well equipped to stage live games.

ONdigital will be the "lead" broadcaster and each season show a minimum of 88 First, Second, Third Division and Worthington Cup matches. The bad news for fans is that at least some of these games will be pay-per-view, meaning that you have to pay to watch the game live in addition to the ONdigital subscription fee. The matches will probably be shown on ONsport 1 and 2, which are only available for ONdigital subscribers, who can also get the Sky Sports channels.

ITV and the ITV regions will broadcast just 15 matches live each season on a regional basis (similar to when the TV station last had the Nationwide league rights). They will also show nationally the 1st division play-off final and one of the two-legged semi-finals plus the final of the Worthington Cup.

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