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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

The Premiership

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Possible tv sports rights shake up

Ofcom is to review whether BSkyB should have to offer its key sports channels to its rivals.  Sky currently has to offer Sky Sports 1 and 2 at a set price to rivals including Virgin Media and BT Vision because it is deemed to hold a dominant position in the market for premium sports rights.  A new review has now begun into whether such remedies are still appropriate, given changes in the market, such as BT's investment in sports coverage.

Manchester City has best paid players in sport

Manchester City has the best paid players in sport according to a new report.   Their average pay packet is just over £100k a week.   The next two top spots are occupied by Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Football clubs take six of the ten top slots.  Four other Premier League clubs are in the top twenty: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United.

City to be found guilty under FFP rules

Manchester City are to be found guilty under financial fair play rules this week and face either a heavy fine or a transfer embargo.   Much depends on how sponsorship of the club by Etihad is treated and whether it is regarded as a related party transaction.

Has Arsenal got talent?

Last night's edition of Britain's Got Talent was delayed while Arsenal completed their penalty kicks victory over Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup semi-final.   However, a question that may have been going through the minds of some could have been has Arsenal got enough talented players?   And has Arsene Wenger lost his magic touch?

Clubs in the money

Now that all the Premier League club accounts for last season are available, the authoritative Swiss Ramble blog has been able to make an overall analysis.

Eight clubs made a profit, which is more than I expected, with Swansea City leading the pack at £21m. QPR, who were relegated, made by far the biggest losses.   Arsenal had the biggest cash balances at £153m, followed by Manchester United at £94m.

Narrow majority back Hull name change

A narrow majority of Hull season ticket holders has backed plans to change the name of Hull City to Hull Tigers.   However, 60 per cent did not respond and some fans felt the question was biased because it linked the named change with the Allam family remaining in charge at the club.

Top 30 English Football Clubs by Average Attendances 2013

A list of the top thirty English football clubs as ordered by average home attendances (domestic league matches only) for season 2012-13.

Manchester United FC retained their top spot, averaging over 75,500 spectators per match. Arsenal FC retained second position, averaging over 60,000, with Newcastle United FC coming in third at 50,515.

The average attendance for English Premier League clubs was 35,920 and for Championship clubs it was 17,450. For the third and fourth tiers of the English professional football leagues the averages were 6,320 and 4,390 respectively.

Attendances continue to rise

Last season's average Barclays Premier League attendance of 35,931 was the sixth highest since league football began in 1888.   Attendances have been growing again this season.  If the present average of 36,412 is maintained it will become the third largest ever.

Crowds would have only been larger in 1948-49 (38,776) and 1949-50 (37,400).  These were years when the disruption of the immediate aftermath of war had been overcome, but there was a lack of entertainment alternatives.

New meaning for Fergie time?

Sir Alex Ferguson has gone from Premier League to Ivy League with a long-term contract at Harvard Business School.  He will be lecturing senior managers who take the school's course in the business of entertainment, media and sport.

It is not known how long the classes will be or whether they will run over into 'Fergie time' or whether under performing students will get the 'hair dryer' treatment.  It is not thought that 'Succession Planning 101' will be covered.

Fears for Sky in football rights war

BSkyB shares slipped nearly 3 per cent yesterday after HSBC and Oriel both advised selling them.  There are concerns about how Sky might come out of a football rights war with BT.

HSBC told its clients that BT was 'likely to win' the next Premier League rughts auction.   Either the rights would be split as they are now, but at a much higher price, or BT would take a greater share of the packages.