Andrea Radrizzani, owner of sports broadcaster Eleven Sports and English second-tier soccer club Leeds United, has led calls for the creation of a ‘Premier League 2’ to help Championship clubs receive more television revenue.
Leeds United had half of their games selected for live coverage last season, yet only made UK£7.5 million (US$9.9 million) in TV revenue in 2017 – while Premier League clubs are guaranteed around UK£100 million (US$132 million) under the current lucrative TV deal the league benefits from.
Relegated clubs also receive parachute payments of UK£75 million (US$99 million) over a two-year period when they enter the Championship.
Radrizzani, who completed his takeover of the club in May last year, has been critical of the Championship’s current financial model and argues that a breakaway league could be the answer.
Speaking at the Leaders Sport Business Summit, he said: “There is a huge gap with the clubs coming down relegated from the Premier League, they have parachute [payments], they have a bigger TV budget.
“This model and also the small money they generate from TV rights, split between 72 clubs, maybe they need to reconsider and consider another way to create a Premier League 2 or something else that can be sustainable.”
While a vast amount of shared television revenue alone of over UK£1.6 billion (US$2.1 billion) is spread evenly across the 20 Premier League clubs, the Championship’s current TV deal spreads a total income of around UK£90 million (US$119 million) between the 72 English Football League (EFL) clubs, also covering England’s third and fourth tiers.
With 19 of the 24 Championship clubs making a loss in the 2016/17 season, Radrizzani insists there is a shared concern among fellow chairmen, adding: “I think the other chairmen would love to open a conversation. The time is getting ready to consider what to do to move forward so we don't have a crisis every two years when a club go bankrupt or changes ownership every other year.”
Radrizzani’s Leeds are currently in contention for promotion to the Premier League, sitting third in the Championship table having lost just one league game all season under new manager Marcelo Bielsa.