Premier League Wants To Be The NFL


You may have missed an article by Oliver Kay in The Times this past weekend that featured a very revealing interview with Manchester City executive chairman Garry Cook regarding the future of the Premier League. The headline perfectly sums up Kay’s article: “Vision Of A Breakaway League With No Relegation.”

Here are the revealing quotes followed by my opinion:

  1. “I wouldn’t have promotion and relegation. That’s what central entity is, like the NFL in American football. Once you get central entity, you basically share the wealth.” — What? Promotion are relegation are two of the reasons why the Premier League is so much more attractive to global viewers compared with the NFL. We’ve heard the Premier League mention this idea before, but the reaction from the paying public would be totally against it.
  2. “If you want to become a multi-multibillion-pound empire, you may have to look at changing the model.” — ‘May have to look at changing the model’ is business talk for ‘Definitely will change the model.’ Be forewarned.
  3. “I talk to Richard Scudamore about this all the time: ‘Are we maximising the central entity of the Premier League?’ And he rolls his eyes and says: ‘If only, if only we could, if only we would.'” — Quite a revealing statement from Cook that gives us a peek inside Scudamore’s thought process.
  4. “We’re getting into a situation where there are maybe ten clubs. Do Saudi Arabians want to buy – and no disrespect to these clubs – Stoke City or Derby County? Or do they want to buy Newcastle United, Aston Villa, Manchester United, Manchester City?” — So, let me get this straight. The end goal is to sell all of these major clubs to the Middle East? Could D.I.C. be the first?

While the NFL is what the Premier League wants to be, especially in terms of their TV revenue, the biggest mistake the EPL could make is by creating a central entity. It’s the promotion and relegation which adds so much excitement and drama to the league.

If they Premier League did move to a central entity, a closed league, who would the 14 teams be?

  1. Manchester United
  2. Chelsea
  3. Arsenal
  4. Liverpool
  5. Aston Villa
  6. Portsmouth
  7. Tottenham Hotspur
  8. Everton
  9. Manchester City
  10. Newcastle United
  11. West Ham United
  12. Sunderland
  13. Middlesbrough
  14. Blackburn Rovers

The teams that are currently in the Premier League who would not be included in the central entity, I believe are:

  1. Fulham
  2. Stoke City
  3. West Bromwich Albion
  4. Hull City
  5. Wigan Athletic
  6. Bolton Wanderers

Fulham would not be included due to the small capacity of their stadium. There’s little to no chance of the club leaving Craven Cottage. Wigan’s average attendance is the worst in the league, while I don’t see Bolton remaining in the Premier League much longer based on their current form.

The advantage of a central entity is that the league can have all 14 clubs working together and sharing the TV revenue to build the Premier League brand worldwide. The other advantage is that it would ensure club owners that their football team would continue to generate massive amounts of revenue each year rather than having to worry about the threat of dropping down a division due to relegation.

But by closing the doors on the league, it would break the hearts of the fans of other clubs hoping to be promoted into the top league. Massive clubs such as Leeds United, Birmingham City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and others would be refused the opportunity to see their club regain greatness.

And plucky clubs such as Reading would be prevented from reaching the upper echelons of English football.

Sure, the NFL generates more revenue than the Premier League does right now but that doesn’t mean that the Premier League has to imitate the American football league to achieve success.

What do you think? Share your feedback via the comments link below.


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