Last week, the Premier League sold the domestic broadcasting rights from 2013-2016 for £3.018bn, leaving Sky broadcasting 116 matches per year. The deal is worth £1.254bn more than the current deal and ensures that Sky viewers will continue to be well-served with regular Premier League coverage.
With the money earned from this deal being put back into players’ wages means that clubs such as Manchester City can continue to attract the best players, but is this new found wealth being used in the right way? These resources might be better directed at investment in grass roots football developing young talent and helping to tackle social problems.
…might reduce youth unemployment…
England’s recent exit from the European Championships highlighted a reliance on experienced players (Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck aside) and expressed once again that more could be done to develop young talent in the English game to create a winning brand of football. There is a considerable argument to suggest that the money earned from television deals should be invested in young talent. As well as the possibility that it might reduce youth unemployment by providing jobs through coaching and playing, there is an opportunity with this money to build up grass roots talent so that in the future England will continue to be well served with high quality players.
The problems with this approach are that it is not a completely reliable way of making money. Taking a risk on developing young players may be extremely lucrative if such a player happens to explode onto the football scene as a genuine world class talent, but the money could be wasted if players fail to develop their full potential.
…never make the grade.
Though young people do struggle to get jobs, a job in football is by no means a certainty, as many potential premier league players never make the grade. But that does not mean that money should not be spent, it is just that the coaching in particular has to be of a high standard to ensure that every player reaches his potential.
An argument could also be made that the money be used to encourage more girls to get into football. Though this should always be encouraged, is that really the only option available for curbing the increase in girl gangs? I am not sure that football alone can solve those problems. However, it is true that more investment in this area can only contribute positively to the expansion of the game and to promote women’s football.
…high wage demands will continue…
With teams motivated by short-term success, the likelihood of the money being spent on grass roots football and assisting youth employment is much reduced. Players with high wage demands will continue to arrive on these shores and this will be at the expense of the development of young players. With the inevitable navel-gazing that comes from an international tournament exit, it seems that this TV deal, while wonderful for Sky and keen Premier League viewers, may not make it any more likely that England can produce the talented young players it so desperately needs.