Liverpool question foreign TV rights deal
Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre has called for top Premier League clubs to be allowed to sell overseas television rights individually, it was reported on Wednesday.
The world's richest football league currently sells its international television rights as a joint package worth £3.2 billion ($5bn) for the period 2010-13, with the proceeds shared equally across all 20 clubs.
However, Ayre said Liverpool were willing to challenge the structure of the deal, arguing that higher profile teams should be given a bigger slice of the proceeds as they generate more interest in regions such as Asia.
Ayre believes clubs such as Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal should be free to sell rights to their matches individually, following the model used in Spain by Real Madrid and Barcelona.
"Personally I think the game-changer is going out and recognising our brand globally. Maybe the path will be individual TV rights like they do in Spain," Ayre told The Guardian newspaper.
"If you're a Bolton fan in Bolton, then you subscribe to Sky because you want to watch Bolton. But if you're in Kuala Lumpur, there isn't anyone subscribing to Astro or ESPN to watch Bolton, or if they are it's a very small number.
"The large majority are subscribing to watch Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal.
"What we are actually doing is disadvantaging ourselves against other big European clubs. If Real Madrid or Barcelona or other big European clubs have the opportunity to realise their international media value potential, where does that leave Liverpool and Manchester United?
"We'll just share ours because we'll all be nice to each other? The whole phenomenon of the Premier League could be threatened.
"If they just get bigger and bigger and they generate more and more, then all the players will start drifting that way and will the Premier League bubble burst because we are sticking to this equal-sharing model?
"It's a real debate that has to happen."
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