FSG plainly want Liverpool in an American style league. But why? We try to explain.
The Premier League is the biggest league in the world, while football is, by a distance, the most popular sport. Both are far bigger than anything America has to offer.
So why would FSG and other owners want to ditch the current system for a more American league? It seems mad on first look.
The NBA, for instance, doesn’t come close to the Premier League. NBA commissioner Adam Silver recently talked about how things were good because social-media engagement was at 1.6 billion people globally.
The Premier League had 3.2 billion cumulative viewers in the 2018/19 season. Not ‘social media engagements’ – actual viewers. And that was without counting mobile views or people watching down the pub.
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So again, why would these owners want to ditch a system that’s working so well for something that’s plainly inferior? Money, of course.
At the start of last year, Forbes had the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys as the most valuable sports team on the planet. Then came MLB’s New York Yankees. Then the NBA trio of the New York Knicks, LA Lakers and Golden State Warriors.
Sixth is Real Madrid. Two more football teams make the top 20 – Barcelona and Manchester United.
Liverpool weren’t in the top 50 despite being one of the biggest and most successful teams on earth. Despite being more recognisable than any of the American teams on that list.
And there’s a good reason for that. In American leagues, it’s a closed shop.
You’re actually guaranteed money through TV deals, attendance against the top teams and a shot at the best players. You can’t drop out of the competition, no matter how badly things go.
The Knicks haven’t been good since the mid-90s and they’re worth more than Real!
There is virtually no risk involved for owners and that makes their assets very, very valuable.
And talking of TV deals, let’s have a look at what the NBA reportedly wants before long. CNBC reports talk of an $8 billion per year deal. That’s around £5.75 billion.
In 2019, the Premier League got $12 billion for three years. The NBA wants twice that, despite not having close to the viewership. That’s the advantage of getting rid of small clubs and not letting them in. That’s why Florentino Perez talks of more games between big clubs.
So with their closed shop, FSG and the other would have assured a massive growth in value for the clubs. Not only that, but high-ranking positions meant they control the TV rights, too.
And with such a system, they could have dwarfed even those NBA numbers.
The competition would be worse, the smaller clubs would have sunk, and no one wanted it. But make no mistake – it would have been enormously profitable for owners.
It’s hard to imagine they’ll simply give up that dream.