The English Premier League is, by far, the most popular domestic football League in the world, ahead of the likes of Spain’s Primera Liga, the German Bundesliga, the French Ligue 1 and the Italian Serie A by quite some distance. And it is quite astonishing to think that although 20 years back, when the English Premier League first started, after breaking away from the English First Division Championship, there was hardly any trace of popularity, it now enjoys as a global brand.
The one reason that was cited by the clubs that were competing in the erstwhile top League in English football was that the lack of proper television rights was hindering the development of the game in the country, where as Leagues such as those in Spain and Italy were using their lucrative rights deal and putting the money into developing their stadiums and building infrastructure for the game to develop as whole.
Moreover, with more money coming from sponsorship, the clubs from Spain and Italy were being able to fight it out for the best players from around the world in the transfer market. The foreign players were also turning their backs on the English clubs due to the relatively low wages offered in England compared to Italy and Spain. This resulted in the breakaway of the clubs from the then First Division and The Football League led by the big clubs such as Liverpool, Arsenal, Leeds United and Manchester United and the formation of the Premier League on the 20th of February, 1992.
Since then, the League has just gone from strength to strength with the clubs being able to negotiate sponsorship, sell television rights and increase match day revenue. The formation of the Premier League saw the annual revenue of the clubs increase by almost 45%, making them more competitive in the transfer market and slowly, big names players started coming to England, and the global television rights enabled the development of the game in the country further.
For example, Manchester United has around 659 million fans worldwide, of which, around 300 million are from Asia and this was possible with the games being telecast live at all corners of the world. This increased the global revenue of the game in England, as well as its popularity. With an approximate television audience of 643 million in 212 countries all over the world, the English Premier League is easily the most popular and most watched domestic league in world football.
It was just last May when the Premier League signed a new television rights deal with BSkyB and the BT Group for a whopping £ 3 billion for a period of 4 years, which is easily the most lucrative television deal in all sports. This new television rights deal just goes to show the popularity and demand of the Premier League all over the world and points it out as the money making behemoth it actually is, in terms of bringing in revenue for the clubs, which are shareholders of the Premier League.
But we don’t just love to watch, we enjoy to place a bet on Premier League games too sometimes, even though we are not professional gamblers. The truth is that for weeks every summer, we keep thinking that the Premier League season can’t come soon enough. Fortunately the season finally kicks off, and as always we are ready to revere our champions and admire their battles into the football arenas.