The English Premier League?

17 Oct

Actually could be the Kop…

After what seems like forever the Premiership is back! More opportunities for West Ham and my fantasy league team to disappoint me relentlessly.

West Ham like many clubs have foreign owners. Our owners have unfortunately gone bust in the credit crunch but the other clubs have so far come out unscathed.

This week another foreign owner came along in Carson Yeung at Birmingham City. I have read a lot of articles that talk about how all this “foreignness”  is bad for the game and then go on to talk about how it  is important to have a free market etcetera.

The thing is that the Premiership transcends football to a massive extent. It is such a global brand, really unrivalled in sporting terms. The only thing that comes near I guess is something like Formula 1 or Tennis and they move from country to country!

It is easy for me and people in England. We watch football. We pick a team.  We support that team. We devour any live football with Andy Gray before watching Match of the Day to hear what Alan Hansen has to say. We hear a lot about how abroad they love the fast pace/competitive matches/best football. The fast pace went with Mourinho. Competitive? It’s more of a 2 or even 3 tier league. Best?t It is only over the last few years the premier league clubs have started to dominate Europe. So what is the appeal at a global level?

What the premiership clubs have a done brilliantly is exploit emerging markets, particularly Asia. These markets have no loyalty to any one league so the Premier League’s approach has been to acknowledge that the consumer really is sovereign and treat them accordingly.

Premier league clubs spend all Summer parading stars to thousands of fans and playing friendlies against club and national team. They bring in token players who sometimes turn out to be alright. ESPN Star Sports have just won the rights in Asia and a market of nearly 2 billion people. They broadcast 1500 hours of original football programming! Amazingly fans in Asia now have access to every single Premier League Match across various platforms. Something English fans don’t have.

Investors all over the world have seen this and are now queuing up to get their money in. Abramovich showed that while owning a club may not be profitable it brings prominence and credibility. The Americans are running massive debts so that Villa, United and Liverpool can satisfy their fans. The Arabs have come in at Portsmouth and Man City.

A lot has been invested. A lot rides on the continued loyalty to the global brand of the Premier League. But with Ronaldo gone and stars choosing Spanish football there is a danger that the best may be over. Slowly we could see the Premier League facing a crunch of it’s own.

Then what?


One Response to “The English Premier League?”

  1. bobbygee October 17, 2009 at 3:53 pm #

    No the best is yet to come. We are the same in america with the NFL. I was born in Philly my team is the eagles. I choose Man U as my team. I am a Flamenguista. Flamengo. I love Brasileiro Futebol

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