Jordan warning over new Championship TV deal

November 6, 2007

Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan has warned there remains a huge disparity with the Premier League after the Football League's new £264million deal was announced.

The BBC will screen live Football League matches from 2009 for the first time since the foundation of the Premier League after striking a joint deal with Sky that will bring 10 live Championship matches a year and the Carling Cup final to terrestrial television.

The three-year deal is a major boost for the Football League, which has more than doubled its TV rights revenue and will enjoy the increased exposure brought by terrestrial coverage.

Sky will screen 65 exclusively live league matches every year, the play-offs including all three finals, the first five rounds of the Carling Cup and the Johnstone's Paints Trophy.

The new agreements, which represent a 135% increase on the League's existing broadcasting arrangements, are worth £88million per season to Football League clubs.

However, when viewed in comparison to the £2.7billion deal struck by top-flight clubs last year for the media and television rights packages for the Premier League for the next three years, the gulf between the elite and the Football League is strikingly apparent.

Jordan said: 'This deal is a great step forward and reinforces brand values of the Championship because while no-one wants to be in this division, whilst you're there you want to be as competitive as you possibly can.

'This is a fantastic step in the right direction but there is much more to be had.

'The distribution of money outside of the Premier League still needs to be looked at because there remains a huge disparity.

'Football is a glamour business nowadays - it lifts people out of their seats - and I don't see why some of the gold-dust from the Premier League cannot be dropped onto the second tier of English football.'

Dr Geoff Pearson, Programme Director of the MBA Football Industries at the University of Liverpool, echoed Jordan's pessimism.

Pearson said: 'In the grand scheme of things this deal is not going to make teams at the bottom of the Championship more competitive.

'Clubs who have been in the Premier League, such as Watford, West Brom and Charlton, will always have far greater financial muscle due to the parachute payments from having been in the top flight.

'You only have to look at the Championship table to see that.

'This deal isn't going to halt or reverse that trend but at least it will give the Championship more publicity on the terrestrial television and thus raise its profile.'

Sky currently show Championship games, but Jordan said: 'I watch so much football on Sky, and I see the dynamics of a Championship game and then a Premier League game.

'They're very different, particularly in the build-up to the match.

'For the Championship games they show historical pictures of people with rattles and I don't think that is a particularly aspirational image.

'A lot more still needs to be done to bridge the gap, but this deal is a good start.'

Ipswich chairman David Sheepshanks told Sky Sports News: 'We all know the disparity in wealth between the Premier League and the rest of us is massive but we've always taken the view that we have to get on the front foot.

'This deal shows that we have done that. The initiative and enterprise the Football League has shown to popularise our competitions has been rewarded by this massive deal and will of course help clubs' economies massively.

'The Championship clubs get the lion's share of the money but we should be focusing on what this means for the Football League overall.'