Premier League media rights continue to rise, Crystal Palace owner Harris says: CityAM
Crystal Palace co-owner Josh Harris has predicted that Premier League media rights will continue to rise, defying forecasts that the football bubble may be about to burst.
The league’s domestic broadcast revenues appear to have leveled off for now and the global sports rights market has cooled, in part due to the pandemic.
But the value of overseas rights continues to rise, Amazon and DAZN have become competitors of traditional broadcasters, and Harris is optimistic about the market for bigger sports competitions such as the NBA, NFL and the Premier League.
“Big tech is getting involved,” Harris, co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA and the New Jersey Devils in the MLB, said at the Leaders Sport Business Summit in London.
“People love to watch the sport live and it’s a unique asset so I see a lot of things that will continue to drive values up. The Premier League, internationally, is developing a lot. If you look at recent offers in sports, they are all on the rise.
The NHL has doubled its money with its latest rights sale, while the MLB has also seen its most recent contracts increase in value.
The Premier League and broadcasters Sky, BT, the BBC and Amazon have renewed their domestic rights deal, worth £ 4.7 billion, for three more years until 2025. The rights sales to overseas are ongoing but could match this figure, representing further growth in total value, albeit down from the 70 percent increase in 2016-2019.
Harris believes the Premier League will only strengthen its dominance, attracting more top talent and attracting interest from broadcasters.
“The excitement the Premier League has created is raising more media dollars and therefore the best players in the world will want to play it,” said Harris.
“Everyone will have their own leagues and local teams, but the best players will go where they get paid the most and the competitive dynamics are the best. It will bring in ultimate media dollars and that’s kind of what happens.
While American sports tend to favor closed leagues, Harris said he supports relegation, even though it poses a threat to Palace and ultimately the value of his investment.
“Relegation is what makes British football. Every game counts, ”he said.
“In the United States, if you lose, you get a higher draft pick. We need to be nimble, smart, create boundaries around analytics, sports science, and keep players in our neighborhood.
“As the owner, and just thinking about it, I would say the low end of the Premier League is a problem. But we have a really smart management team. This [relegation] is something that you have to navigate. I would keep it.
Harris, who took a controlling stake in Palace with his business partner David Blitzer in 2015, said he had invested to “take on some of the bigger clubs”.
The South London side are currently in 14th place in the table after seven games under new manager Patrick Vieira.
“It’s tough but very exciting and I think Palace is on the right side of history and growing,” he added.
“We are disjointed and on the move. Mid-table, hopefully moving towards the top 10.
“Patrick Vieira was a great choice and we are very lucky to have him.”