As a student who studies Sports Business who has a few unnameable industry leaders as contacts, over the past two days I have been repeatedly asked for my view on the hottest news story in European Football of a group English Football clubs meeting with an American Businessman (Stephen Ross) over the idea of creating a new Invitation only-European Super League competition… however this is not a new concept to be thrown around. (Apologies for the way in which this has been written as I have adapted this from messages I have sent various people.
This new league at the moment is going to be like a Champions league for the Elites like in Rugby Union when the British and French clubs made the Champions Cup rather than continue with the Heineken Cup.
There is a group called the ECA (European Club Association) of the biggest 220 clubs in Europe headed by the Chairman of Bayern Munich, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the vast majority of their priorities and power lie with the largest clubs within such as Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona. This group pretty essentially wants only the biggest matches happening because they make more money. But this group and especially the leader of it are getting annoyed by not having teams like Inter Milan, AC Milan and Valencia in the Champions League and rather having small Belarusian and Bulgarian Clubs that very few have heard of outside of their countries. They feel that due to the size of clubs like Valencia and the Milans they have a right to be in the top competition. So they are the ones behind this long standing vision, and this American business man/investor will just be the initial financial backer and plan creator for the whole thing. It would mean Rangers from the second division in Scotland with Celtic and possibly Aberdeen would go in to it. At the moment it will look like another Champions League but it may turn in to a massive European league if they can win over all the environmentalist activist groups as the travel for all of these cross continent matches will undoubtedly contribute to increasing football’s carbon footprint.
When I was asked about my opinion on the effect of what this would have on English Football I simply replied with: I think it will absolutely terrible. It may make the push for the Premier League and La Liga and Bundesliga closer but they will all become second rate competitions. If they market this new competition correctly then they will garner large enough television and sponsorship deals to raise the clubs’ income enough so that they can subsidise ticket and travel prices for nation local fans as some English teams are considering of doing with the new TV deal starting next season (2016-17). I can’t see any of this new concept coming in to practice until after that huge Premier League TV deal finishes. With such a vast amount of money involved it will be near impossible to compensate the Domestic and Overseas broadcasters involved in the current detail, therefore I believe within this time we may only see a Champions League replacement competition before it then being developed in to a complete League system.
So, what about other sports, what impact will this possible change have upon them? As my secondary sport is Rugby Union I can greater explain in terms and situations relating to it. That being said I believe Union has made the beginning of the transition already, with the Champions Cup and with so many teams like London Welsh and Irish struggling financially this kind of thing could be a last resort for the remaining teams. In Rugby League they have matches between the major English teams (Wigan Warriors and Leeds Rhinos) and the largest Oceanic teams (Queensland and the Rabbitohs) which draw a lot of support from both hemispheres and with that interest comes money so that kind of thing is happening there to draw the sponsors and offers the chance to exploit one off match-day revenue streams. Despite that League is still a long way behind Union with the even greater coverage of Rugby Union this season but I can see the international club matches become a regular occurrence in Union before any major league rises up. And with this European League concept I believe that they would wait until it is established in football before seeing if it is a success or not before implementing it I their respective sports.
Please comment on this post or message me if you would like me to explain my views further or provide more information. Also if you could spread this message around social media it would be much appreciated.