Yay! The new fixtures for the 2010-11 Premier League season have been announced. And all around the world we soccer fans are rubbing our hands with glee at the thought of who our team will play on the opening day of the new season, scheduled to kick off on Saturday, August 14.
If I sound slightly sarcastic, it’s intentional. While I like perusing the new fixtures just as much as you do, I’m legally not allowed to show them to you. That’s because of an archaic (and ridiculous) law that makes the Premier League fixtures licensed information. And because it’s licensed, I would have to pay a fee of £4,244 to list them for the whole season. That is, in US currency, $6,277.
The management of the licenses for the Premier League (and Football League) is done by a company called Football DataCo, which is owned by the Premier League and Football League. The money accrued by Football DataCo is then split among the clubs in the Premier League, Football League and Scottish Football League clubs. To police the Internet to ensure that websites that are publishing fixtures have paid their license fees, Football DataCo uses NetResult, a UK based company that is also hired by the Premier League to shut down websites that illegally show highlights of Premier League action or live streams.
I, along with presumably hundreds of other bloggers and website owners, received a “friendly” e-mail from NetResult recently warning us that “Football DataCo Limited vigorously polices and protects the Leagues’ commercial rights, including the Leagues intellectual property rights in the fixture lists. On behalf of Football DataCo Limited, NetResult will be regularly monitoring web sites to ensure that the Leagues’ intellectual property rights are not infringed.”
And, with their capitalist’s hat on, NetResult reminded us that “The display or use of other materials owned or controlled by the Leagues (including, but not limited to photographs and logos) may require a separate additional licence which can also be obtained via Football DataCo Limited.” Oooh, lovely. Not only can I pay $6,277 for the fixtures, but I can also sign up to pay to use the logo of the Premier League and its clubs, as well as photographs. Wonderful.
The letter from NetResult is reprinted here (click the image for a larger version):
Oh, I almost forgot. Here are the fixtures — in honor of Pro Evolution Soccer’s fake team names — for the opening day of the 2010-11 Premier League season:
Merseyside Red against CENSORED should be a great clash on the opening day, don’t you think?
The complete (and licensed) fixtures for the 2010-11 Premier League season can be found on the Premier League website.