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TV Revenue For Football To Suffer Severe Decline!

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 11/01/2002

FOOTBALL clubs have been warned that they face a reduction in TV revenue as the big money being poured into football today will not continue.

Delegates at the Football Expo in Cannes were warned of this yesterday. The warning came from Richard Dorfman, vice-president at Kirch, the German marketing company responsible for selling rights to the 2002 and 2006 World Cups who said that the viewing figures for domestic leagues and the Champions League had declined in the last 18 months but there was still interest in the World Cup.

The price of TV deals had a 30-fold increase since 1991.

"After a decade of growth, revenue from television has peaked. Many markets are already witnessing a decrease in the price of television deals. France, Germany, Spain, Britain and Italy have all witnessed a drop in audiences for Champions League matches." Dorfman said.

"There is, however, still room for growth with the World Cup because nothing captures the national psyche like the national team playing."

Some delegates used the Nationwide League in the UK was as an example with the warning that the current contract will not be renewed at the same high level, which will send shivers through the spine of some Nationwide League chairmen who have already dipped into their future prospective income.

The second and third divisions of the Nationwide may only receive appearance money in the future and the first division will have their income reduced dramatically.

But EUFA claim that the interest in the Champions League remains and Mike Lee, Director of Communications, said. "We believe that there's still growth available if you have the right product, With the Champions League we believe we have the right product."

Another problem was that as TV viewing figures were reducing; there has been no corresponding increase in attendances particularly in the Nationwide.

One suggestion was that there should be a return to the old system where live football could not be shown in the areas where the clubs were playing. A suggestion not welcomed by TV chiefs who would lose many thousands of viewers.

There are also fewer bidders on the scene and the Premier League could see their TV income halved after the current contract ends.

The flow on from this is that the extremely high transfer fees for players will not be possible except with the "elite" richer clubs and players will also feel the pinch with less favourable terms being offered to them than they presently receive.

The Expo continues.

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