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John Fenty - Statement
By: John Fenty
MR John Fenty, Chairman of Grimsby Town Football Club has issued the following release regarding the BBC Radio Humberside's Sponsorship Offer. We publish it, at his request, to give it the maximum exposure.
Firstly, the Club is not preventing Radio Humberside from broadcasting coverage of any of our fixtures - either home or away.
In fact there is a national agreement between the BBC sport and the Football League that allows coverage of games at specific standard charges acceptable to BBC sport. These charges were negotiated for the start of this season and are permitted to be used by BBC's local radio stations which would apply to BBC radio Humberside.
Applying the standard chargeable rate against the average number of fixtures broadcasted for recent seasons equates to an approximate value of Â£12,000 per season which does not include the cup success against Derby, Spurs, Newcastle, beating Lincoln in the play-offs to reach the final at Cardiff which were all covered by the station.
It is probably worth pointing out that these rates were arrived at to take into account; broadcasting harm over broadcasting gain.
Reasonably you could accept that the negative impact on our gates, due to fixtures being broadcasted live could cost our Football Club at least Â£12,000 in lost gate receipts. This looks a reasonable assessment which would equate to 700 match ticket sales being lost over the whole season.
TV compensation is good example where live broadcasting compensates for the (broadcasting harm) loss of gate receipts. We received Â£200,000 from the televised Spurs and Newcastle games alone last season.
BBC sport nationally were quite content for the rates to be charged through their local radio stations - so why should BBC Radio Humberside think that our Club (should waiver its right to charge the standard rates or be compensated accordingly to do so) and be bullied into receiving a paltry Â£5,000. Their offer of Â£5,000 to include the right to broadcast unlimited coverage of our fixtures, advertising hoardings in key locations at the ground, 4 free tickets per game, a half page advertising in the match day programme and extensive access for interviews.
It does not make commercial sense to accept Â£5000 when other media sponsors offer significantly better value, reporting on pre and post match events which by and large enhance our gates, compared with the radio and TV live broadcasting of the games which reduce our gates and income.
BBC Radio Humberside's mischievous reporting together with its decision not to broadcast any fixtures either home or away is the same as bullying our Club.
Suggestions that this issue is personal or a hangover from historical friction is nonsense.
The only interest is that the Club is treated fairly.
To this extent we have benchmarked Radio Humberside's offer against other Clubs radio deals. It is sad to see that the Â£5,000 offer is woefully less than the going rate, a matter that I have raised with Simon Pattern, the station's managing editor.
Local Clubs are getting between 2.4 times and 7 times more than what's being offered to our Club from the same radio station in spite of us having the second biggest conurbation.
I have also approached two League 2 Clubs of similar size to ours. Compared to the Â£5,000 offer one receives 2.4 times more and the other received last season 9.2 times more. One other League 1 Club, I have learned, receives 14 times that on offer to our Club.
Is it the biggest club or the biggest conurbation or the League that you are in determining the level compensatory sponsorship?
There is an agreed mechanism for BBC Radio Humberside to broadcast games at an acceptable rate to BBC sport and our Club.
Please do not blame our Club;
No coverage of games is solely down to the decision of BBC Radio Humberside
Dissappointingly a reporter of the BBC Radio Humberside suggested it is no skin of the nose of the station to not broadcast coverage of Grimsby Towns games, an absurd and derisory comment heard by many licence payers and the stations listeners.
If you, as a licence fee payer to the BBC, feel strongly about any of these issues, I would urge you to make your representations known to Radio Humberside's managing editor, Simon Pattern. It is your right, you pay their wages.
As an overall sponsorship agreement could not be reached with Radio Humberside the Club welcome BBC Radio Humberside to Blundell Park to broadcast any number of games it wishes. In turn, our Club will apply the standard charging rate. Similarly, should the station wish to sponsor the Club in any other way we would be happy to make a commercial charge, points that I have repeated in writing to Simon Pattern the station's managing editor.
Deplorably the Club has been made to look bad by these unfortunate events; I personally assure you that the Club's best interests are our first concern and to that end we apologise for any disruption caused by the Club exercising its right for a fair and reasonable deal.
As we do not expect these news worthy facts to receive extended media coverage beyond the internet, you could help by circulating the facts.
Interestingly, there has been a marked increase in new subscriptions to Mariners World coverage of games, already approaching Â£2,000 in value. Again this demonstrates the impact of live coverage of games and its affect of reducing the Club's income streams.
Responding to this, the Club will, as soon as possible, be providing an enhanced Mariners World service.
Chairman Grimsby Town Football Club Plc
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