The astronomical amount of money currently circulating the footballing world provides a platform from which the sport can be scorned at and condemned; frequent complaints are voiced regarding players’ salaries, the price of T.V. rights and so forth.
This article seeks to present an ulterior image: the staggering degree of money that is enmeshed in football is beneficial. Granted, the indignant cries bemoaning the aforesaid circulation of money are valid and deserve recognition, but this topic is invariably blighted by one mind-set: that the footballing community should hang its sordid, villainous and contemptuous head in shame.
On 8th July, George Osborne announced his budget; buried somewhere beneath the dense jargon and Conservative propaganda is £12bn worth of welfare cuts. If football, in the U.K., was not invested in so heavily, then the picture would be a great deal worse; the government would lose out on billions of tax revenue. Financial analysts Ernst & Young (EY) estimate that the Premier League indirectly provided £2.4bn worth of taxable income. Thus, the government would, arguably, be £2.4bn worse off. Inevitably, this would translate into deeper, more penetrating and cruel cuts to welfare, amplifying the impact of the current public sector cuts. For a more financially orientated look read this article.
The report conducted by EY found that the Premier League supports a little under 104,000 jobs: achieved through teams, foundations, the league itself and the television corporations who show the games. To put this in perspective, these jobs inject an estimated £3.4bn into our economy. Perhaps this is why chief economist at EY, Mark Gregory, remarked that the Premier League has ‘created a cycle of growth’ through its ‘significant contribution the UK economy’. I’m no financial expert, but one can still formulate some perception of a much bleaker economy, if stripped of this monetary aid.
A combined £5.14bn deal was struck earlier this year between the Premier League, Sky and BT for the rights to air live matches. This humbling figure will not be used to give further credence to the notion of economic benefit deriving from the Premier League; rather, it will be utilised to demonstrate a world, the television world for clarification, without televised football. A great deal of revenue would be lost were Sky not to air Premier League matches: lost from the general decrease in advertising payments. Consequently, Sky’s overall budget would be significantly decreased; this would materialise into less programmes, or less investment in said programmes. Little investment invariable leads to poor production, and by succession an underwhelming experience for the viewer. Granted, Sky doesn’t produce most of its most popular shows, but it simply wouldn’t have the money to buy the rights to such shows: Game of Thrones, to select one, wouldn’t be accessible to households around Britain.
Watch this clip for a satirical take on the omnipresence of football on television.
This article doesn’t seek to render the arguments criticising the extortionate levels of money within football redundant, but offers an alternative view. Indeed, there are many valid, well-grounded criticisms of money within football and by no means does this concise account attempt to exonerate the scandalous way in which money pollutes football. The difference in wealth between the top 5/6 and it’s consequences for lower-table teams is analysed in this article. The money generated by clubs, spent on stadiums, players and salaries, could all be refined so that some of that money is diverted to more worthy causes. Indeed, there are flaws within the above arguments: one cannot predict a world, or economy without football, to name but one. However, the case relating the numerous beneficial implications of football, regarding the gluttonous world of finance has been made. One cannot ignore its myriad of positive ramifications, whilst also bemoaning its myriad of negative ramifications: both arguments must be considered.