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"If you want some accessible but informative insight into football then I suggest you couldn't do better than the Political Economy of Football website, which is not only intelligible but comes with the added bonus of being written by Addicks fan Wyn Grant."
Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

Television and Broadcasting

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Radio rights retained

Many people argued that the arrival of television would mean the end of radio or at least of talk radio as distinct from a dj playing music (or perhaps no dj at all). However, radio remains important to football, particularly keener fans.

Thatcher, football and the Premier League

It's fair to say that Mrs Thatcher was no fan of football.   She tended to see it through  a  'law and order' lens, although it has to be admitted that there were serious problems of that kind during the time she was prime minister.

She came up with a completely unworkable membership card scheme for football fans which, if implemented, would have seriously damaged the game.   It was another case of treating football fans as second class citizens, although unfortunately that still happens today.

Search for new Conference sponsor is on

With the completion of the takeover of loss-making Blue Square by Betfair, the search for a new sponsor for the Football Conference is on. Indeed, the Football League does not have a headline sponsor for next season. Undoubtedly a sponsor will be found in both cases: the real question is how much they are prepared to pay.

BT buys ESPN's sports channels

BT is buying ESPN's sports television channels in the UK and Ireland as it steps up its challenge to BSkyB in the pay-tv market.   Last June BT agreed to pay £738m for the rights to 38 Premier League matches including 18 'first picks'.   The move removed ESPN's status as the only rival to Sky and made the US company's withdrawal from the British market more likely.

BT interested in ESPN's football rights

BT is in discussions to acquire football rights from sports broadcaster ESPN as the Disney-owned channel explores an exit from the UK.   The rights that are available include matches from the Bundesliga, Europa League and FA Cup.   However, BSkyB is also interested.

News International buys Premiership mobile and web rights

News International, the publisher of The Times and The Sun has secured the near-live mobile and internet rights to 380 Premier League games per season unxder an exclusive three year deal.

It is the first time that a newspaper group has bought audio-visual rights for the Premiership which were previously shared by American broadcaster ESPN and internet company Yahoo!.   It is believed that News International bid more than the combined sum of £30m paid by ESPN and Yahoo! under the last deal.

Conference may need new sponsor

The Conference may be looking for a new sponsor with the future of Blue Square Bet in doubt.   The future of Blue Square Bet , who are in their sixth season of sponorship, is being reviewed by owners Rank Group.   The business is running at an operating loss and Rank wants to concentrate its resources on its bingo and casino activities.

Club football in Brazil booms

Brazil's top football clubs earned revenue of $1bn in the 2011 season, up nearly 30 per cent from a year earlier, as they gained a greater share of income from television rights.  They have been helped by the rise of pay TV in Brazil with clubs now drawing 26 per cent of their income from TV rights.

This sudden increase in wealth is allowing Brazilian clubs to persuade more top talent to stay at home and to draw some players back from overseas.   A rising middle class is producing rapid growth in telecoms, media and the entertainment industries.

BT to appeal Sky decision

BT is preparing to appeal against a recent decision by the Competition Appeal Tribunal that blocked attempts to force Sky to lower its wholesale price for its sports programming.   This would reopen a five year battle between regulators and Sky over the price it sells its sport programming to rivals.

BT currently pays a 'wholesale must offer'' price of £19.07 a month per customer for Sky Sports 1 and 2, which it feels is too high.   The telecoms operator then retails these two channels to its customers at a lower price.

A seismic change in football?

You need to read this blog post for yourself.   It's a witty and erudite piece of football writing.  A core argument is that the rise of the social media has transformed football and in particular who controls the narrative about the game: no longer the blazer-clad football elite, but the fans themselves.  Not that the writer has a naive belief that everything about the social media represents a change for the better.