Premier League urged to bridge financial gap to Football League

Fears that the new Premier League TV deal will cause a further divide with the Football League must be addressed, says a leading analyst.

The Premier League must act to bridge the financial gap to the Football League after receiving a bumper new television rights deal, says a leading sports business analyst.

Sky Sports and BT agreed a deal to show live Premier League matches in the United Kingdom over three seasons from 2016-17 on Tuesday, with the package costing the broadcasters a combined £5.136billion.

That marks an astounding 70 per cent rise from the current contract and averages out at approximately £10million per game.

The new deal has led to further concerns that teams in the lower tiers of English football will struggle to cope with the financial pressures of the modern game, while there have been fears about the implications at grassroots level.

And Frank Dunn, editor of TV Sports Markets, expects a debate to occur about how best to distribute the money gained from the television contracts.

"I think inevitably it will create a bigger divide," Dunne told Perform. "There's a lot of concern on the impact of the elite pulling away from grassroots. 

"There will be a debate about distribution, solidarity and supporting grassroots. On the face of it Premier League teams are getting richer compared to everyone else.

"It [bridging the gap to the Football League] depends on the structure put in place with a distribution system whereby the strength of the Premier League doesn't undermine the rest of the pyramid but can reinforce it through other methods."

The new deal has led to calls for Premier League clubs to give back to the supporters by lowering the prices of matchday tickets.

Dunne would also like to see a reduction in the cost of tickets, but is not convinced that Premier League owners will do so.

"I think all fans in recent years have felt we've been squeezed on ticket prices, even more so at bigger clubs," he added. 

"If there was ever an opportunity to control that or put a freeze on it this is it. If you're making massive increases from media rights revenue then you're less dependent on matchday revenue.

"I think [Premier League chief executive] Richard Scudamore touched on it yesterday that there is an opportunity to give fairer ticket prices. 

"As a fan, I'd like to think that would happen, but the track record of club owners doesn't hint at giving away revenue where there is high demand - and there is high demand. 

"My gut instinct is there won't be a lot given back to fans in that respect, but I'd like to think that there would be."