FA seeks more money from ITV deal

The English Football Association reopened negotiations with ITV in an effort to persuade the UK commercial broadcaster to expand a rights deal by showing at least two more England national team friendly games than planned in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.

The FA wants to add the extra matches to squeeze more revenue out of a deal in which it is set to take a large fee cut due to a lack of interest from UK broadcasters. Before the latest proposal, it was close to a deal with ITV worth around £42m (€49m/$66m) per season, according to the Daily Telegraph. The deal would have extended an existing rights deal with ITV and was to cover 16 England matches and the FA Cup domestic club competition. Different UK newspapers put the fee cut at between 20 per cent and 25 per cent.

The Daily Telegraph said the extra matches could be away matches from a planned two-game tour of Brazil by England in 2013. The newspaper said ITV’s deal already includes some away matches from England’s World Cup 2014 qualifying campaign. The FA rights attracted little interest from UK public-service broadcaster the BBC – which is reducing its sports rights budget – and pay-television broadcasters Sky Sports and ESPN.

The Financial Times reported that the FA’s broadcast income dropped year-on-year by £8m to £119m in 2010 following the collapse of the former pay-television broadcast partner Setanta’s British business in 2009. ESPN stepped in to acquire the rights previously held by Setanta.

The Guardian said that new six-year deals for England and FA Cup rights outside the UK would help to offset the decline in domestic broadcast income. The newspaper said that sales of the overseas rights would raise around £48m per year – an increase of around 30 per cent on the current international deals. The deals cover all England and FA Cup matches in 2012-13 and 2013-14, and England’s friendly matches and the FA Cup from 2014-15 to 2017-18. The newspaper said the FA was still to conclude deals in Asia.