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United challenge split of TV rights ahead of Champions League clash

TV revenue is the life blood of our game in England but what will happen to the game if the Big 4 control the split in the Premier League?

The media value of Manchester United in the Premier and Champions League reflects the exposure that Sir Alex Ferguson's side gets. The Premier League champions earned £146million in broadcast income last season (source: Deloitte) but the Scot believes that the club should receive more.

TV companies dictate dates and times of fixtures that Ferguson and other Premier League managers feel impact on those clubs competing in Europe.

"When you shake hands with the devil you have to pay the price," said Ferguson

"Television is God at the moment."

He went on to say "It shows itself quite clearly because when you see the fixture lists come out now, they can pick and choose whenever they want the top teams on television. You get some ridiculous situations when you're playing on Wednesday night in Europe and then at lunchtime the following Saturday. You ask any manager if they would pick that themselves and there'd be no chance."

The latest TV rights deal signed in February 2009 gave the Premier League in excess of £1.6 billion for five 23-game packages from 2010-13 from Sky. Setanta/ESPN paid £159 million for one bundle of 69 matches over the same period and overseas TV deals saw clubs earn just over £17 million.
Ferguson said the Premier League sold its product to 200 countries and "when you think of that I don't think we get enough money".

Manchester United has always had the lions share of media income that has helped build a world class stadium and a squad that measures against the best in the world. If the Premier League succumb what will be the impact on the rest of the game?

George Moss

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