Arsene Wenger believes the Premier League’s new £5.136 billion deal for UK live broadcasting rights will help English clubs attract the world’s best talent and could lead to an era of domination in Europe.
It was announced on Tuesday that the seven live packages, five of 28 matches and two of 14 matches, totalling 168 matches per season, were awarded for the three seasons from 2016/17 to Sky and BT at a 70% increase on the previous £3 billion deal.
Reflecting on the impending influx of cash, Wenger told his pre-Boro press conference that the added financial muscle could prove a turning point for Premier League clubs contesting the Champions League.
“It makes the clubs in a bigger, stronger financial position all over Europe,” he said. “It will contribute to get the best players all over the world to come to England. The movement of the players is always linked with the economical and financial power in the countries.
“When I was a coach in Monaco we bought the English players because we were the first to have the television money. Today the biggest financial power is in England and the best players come to England.
“I believe [English clubs could dominate in Europe] and today the difference is so big that the English clubs have a power to attract who they want. Will that last? That’s another question.
“The television [companies] have to decide if it is worth it. The only thing I can say is that it’s an impressive number and as well that it shows the popularity of the English game.
“Maybe we don’t realise it enough but if football is so popular all over the world, the television [companies] in England have contributed to it a lot. The way the games are filmed, the way they promote it has contributed a lot to our success.
“On top of that, they have to pay heavy money now but they must have calculated. It looks to me a very impressive number. It looks to be more of a calculation of ‘we cannot lose this’ than ‘we want absolutely to grow and get bigger’. They are at the stage where the television [companies] first in their calculations don’t want to lose the Premier League.”
Given all 20 Premier League clubs were recently listed by Deloitte in the top 40 richest in Europe, you don’t have to stretch your imagination too far to see even ‘smaller’ clubs in England luring the best talent from traditionally bigger rivals on the continent.
The £5 billion deal isn’t the end of the incoming cash. The sale of international live broadcasting rights, which in 2013 brought in over £2 billion for the three seasons up to summer 2016, are also due for renewal and could well tip the current bounty over the £8 billion mark.
As nice as it would be to think that hige figure might spark a drop in ticket prices, it’s realistic to suggest the only people getting richer will be those within the game.