Thursday, 26 May 2016

Lack of competition killing European TV revenue

Other countries complain about the size of the TV deals that the Premier League gets but it is the most competitive major league in the world and that is what appeals to viewers.

Who wants to watch a French league where PSG finish 31 points ahead of the team in second place, it's hardly a competition is it. People don't want to watch an event they know the result of before it starts, they want to see a contest, not a procession.

Juventus have just won their fifth straight Serie A title, this time by 9 points and their second straight double. Last season they won by 17 points, in 2013/14 by 17 points, 2012/13 by 8 points and 2011/12 by 4 points. the gap has widened in that league with the majority shareholding in AC Milan to be sold to a Chinese consortium in the hope that they can grow and compete. At the moment there is no competition to Juventus.

In Spain it is a two horse race with Atletico always there and thereabouts, but as for the rest of the league they aren't in the same competition. People will watch Barcelona and Real Madrid because of their name but nobody else. The big two were looking to create their own TV deal insisting as they are the only two teams people want to watch they should get most of the money. Again that tells you a lack of competition isn't exciting.

The Bundesliga has been shown in the USA for the first time on Fox Sports and it has been a disappointment because again there is no competition, it's a one team league. Bayern Munich won their fourth consecutive Bundesliga title, this time by 8 points and the Americans aren't interested. Last season they won by 10 points, in 2013/14 by 19 points and in 2011/12 by 25 points. they have done the double in three of the last four seasons.

Cheap ticket prices may fill their ground but it is TV money that runs the game and there is no excitement generated for the TV audience.

Compare all that to the Premier League where Leicester City have just won, where Tottenham improved dramatically, where a different side has won the title in each of the last four seasons, where a different side has produced the Golden Boot winner and a variety of teams make the Cup Final, you have genuine competition. The results therefore matter, it creates excitement, it stimulates emotion and that the TV companies will pay for. That is what people want to watch so the Premier League gets the cash others are jealous of.

The Premier League appreciate they have a product that people want to see, they appreciate that the money has to be spread around and under the new TV deal and with international broadcasting rights a relegated side can expect to earn around £35 million more than a club like AC Milan.

If other countries want a share of the pie then they have to put systems in place that make their leagues more competitive, but the bigger teams will campaign against that. they want guaranteed money and only look at themselves, which is actually shooting themselves in the foot.

We get talk of European leagues and breakaway leagues because Bayern Munich, PSG, Juventus have no competition. They simply want to guarantee their income by trying to create a league against big teams, destroying their own national leagues in the process. They would become second class citizens in that world.

The Premier League doesn't have the problems they have created for themselves over the years which short-sighted policies. How you turn that all around is going to take a lot of thinking, a European league isn't the answer.

Utrecht 19yo Ramselaar impressing scouts

A young player we are undoubtedly keeping an eye on is RC Utrecht teenager Bart Ramselaar, who has been included by coach Danny Blind in the Dutch squad.

Utrecht 19yo Ramselaar impressing scouts

Utrecht have had a season that has exceeded all expectations. Like Tottenham they are a young side and have a young manager. They finished 6th in the Eredivisie missing out on the Europa League after losing the play-off games with Hercules. Holland operate a system where the third placed team (Feyenoord) qualify for the UEFA Europa league and the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh place team go into play-offs for the remaining slot.

Ramselaar came through the youth academy at Utrecht and such has been his season that he is the only uncapped player in the Dutch squad. The 19-year-old (20 in June) is a right-footed attacking midfielder under contract until 2019. He scored 8 goals and had 7 assists this season.

Reading Dutch reports they say he has an exquisite first touch and a velcro-like command of the ball allied with the pace to get him away from his marker. They say he is a player constantly on the move searching for little pockets and channels for space to help a teammate or to change a game in a blink of an eye. That sounds like Eriksen and the movement is exactly what we need from our attacking players. We saw what happened at the end of the season when we had no movement, especially from the wide attackers.

There has been much talk of the devastating partnership Ramselaar has formed with a striker we have been watching, as have half of Europe, Sebastian Haller. He is talked about as being a target of Ajax but FC Utrecht owner Frans van Seumeren suggests the Ajax interest in cool. He also understands he has to sell players to finance the club and wants at least £6.97 million (€9m - US$10.08m) for Ramselaar he told Fox Sports.

"Ramselaar has a contract for four years. I think, with all due respect to Feyenoord, Ramselaar is no longer in the same category as Toornstra." 

Jens Toornstra is a 27-year-old attacking midfielder bought by Feyenoord (finished 3rd) from FC Utrecht for around £3.1 million (€4m - US$4.48m) in 2014.

"The Feyenoord player would cost seven, eight million euros, so to buy Ramselaar nine or ten million. Financially Utrecht have to do a few transfers or a big transfer. 
"Ajax do have phoned Haller's agent and said that they are quite interested, but they are also looking at other players." 

The 21-year-old striker (22 in June) has been watched by German clubs, There have also been reports of Tottenham watching him as well as Sunderland and a host of other clubs. Rob Mackenzie does a lot of scouting work in Belgium and Holland as it isn't too far when you include France in a weekend'ss football watching.

MacKenzie will have seen a player perform in the big matches of the season and complete 84% of his passes, 70% of them being forward, impressive given the role he plays and how easy it is to pass sideways. An area he does need to work on is when doing his defensive duties, an important criteria within the Tottenham system.

Ramselaar is certainly a player to keep an eye on in the future with quiet discussions about his contract and any extension of it.

Italian jokes, Ćorić one step away from Tottenham

There is plenty of talk about Ante Ćorić, the latest being that Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has phoned him to try to convince him to join Liverpool instead of Spurs.

Italian jokes, Ćorić one step away from Tottenham

Ante Ćorić is a 19-year-old (20 next January) Croatian footballer for Dynamo Zagreb in the Prva HNL as an attacking midfielder. He has a contract there until 2020.

Ćorić spoke to Vecernji List a month ago and explained that he was talking to other clubs because there was a lack of communication at Dynamo Zagreb but that that situation had now changed and he thought he would stay there this summer.

"I was very close to leaving Dynamo Zagreb. Communication with the club was pretty poor. I spoke with representatives from Manchester City and Bayern Munich, but also with a scout from Real Madrid and there were other clubs who wanted to sign me. 
"But everything has changed now, and I am once again happy in Dynamo. I think I will stay in Dynamo. "Obviously everyone wants to play for a big club in the long term, but I have a contract with Dynamo for four more seasons."

The British press are never very reliable with transfers from the Croatian area and it is they who have suggested Spurs are willing to pay £9,93 million (€13m - US$14.49m). The story is that if he decides to leave, not that he is willing to leave, but if he leaves Liverpool will offer £11.46 million (€15m - US$16.73m). Apparently he is one of the names at the top of Jurgen Klopp's shopping list.

Having said that, transfer situations can change very quickly, especially when there is something in the way that forces clubs to do their business early. Last summer it was an earlier start to the Premier League, this summer it is the European Championships. Countries do not want their players distracted with transfer activity while with their countries so they have to sort out their futures before or after the Championships.

Stories of Ćorić won't go away, the latest Sports Witness story suggesting we are very close to doing a deal. However, the story falls flat on its face because it mentions a fee of just £3.04 million (€4m - US$4.47m - AUS$6.19m). If anyone thinks Dynamo Zagreb are going to let a talent who is under contract until 2020 go for £3.04 million needs their head examining.

The story is rehashed from TMW whose own story is entitled, Italian jokes, Ćorić one step away from Tottenham. They are right,  at that fee it is a joke. I'm not saying we are not negotiating to try and sign him, we undoubtedly are talking.

I'd be happy to see another quality Croatian at The Lane.

News, views, comment, what's your opinion?

Regular readers, and I thank each and every one of the multitude of you, especially if you take ta moment to explore an advert while you are here, will know this is not just a news website like so many others.

 I don't use staff writers with no interest in Tottenham, everything is penned by myself, although occasionally I throw in a third party article. With my Tottenham eye (I think I'll have to use that phrase on the new website that will be ready soon)  the reports and news are laced with comment and in some cases even research!

I'll change the comment system on the new website so I don't have the problems Intense Debate causes on this website. Sensible suggestions for an alternative commenting system would be welcome, just leave a comment below and I'll look into it.

Anyway, it's time for another round-up of the articles you may have missed yesterday.

News, views, comment from Tottenham Hotspur Blog News

Baseball star Murphy an avid Tottenham fan - An article aimed at our American friends, thanks for reading and do spread the word, an increase in American readers wouldn't go amiss!
No chance of Suarez joining Spurs or Arsenal - people are peddling guesswork that Barcelona could buy him back and sell him on, they won't
Digging deeper on the Calleri situation - A bit of background on the practices in South America that may allow us to sign Calleri from a third party
Mata talk is garbage - A look at why Juan Mata will not be coming to Spurs
West Ham not big enough for Lacazette - They have the same problem we had, players will only join if they have Champions League football
Vazquez (Palermo attacking midfielder) will decide his future in June - Spurs have been heavily linked

Until tomorrow, thanks for reading.

Goal-line technology and professional referees

The Copa America starts next month and Hawk-Eye will be used for the first time. , marking the first use of by the soccer’s The governing bodies for South America and for North and Central America and the Caribbean are using the tournament to trial the goal-line technology now successfully being used in the Premier League.

The 1six-nation tournament will be played at ten .SA grounds and begins on 3 June when the United States take on Comumbia at the Levi Stadium, Santa Clara, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is the home of NFL side, the San Francisco 49ers since 2014.

DeAndre Yedlin is in the USA squad and Erik Lamela has been selected for the Argentina squad.

Organizers have announced the match officials and three of the 18 referees will be from the USA: Mark Geiger, Jair Marrufo and Armando Villarreal. 

Geiger officiated three games at the 2014 World Cup, including the second-round game between France and Nigeria in which he became the first American to referee a World Cup knockout-stage match. 

With a dearth of referees in this country perhaps the FA or the Premier League should be starting a refereeing program in the United States. There needs to be a larger pool of quality full-time referees and promoting it as a career option would seem a better way than trying to bring people in as volunteers on a Sunday morning.

Naturally they need experience at a lower level but there is no reason why referees can't be fast tracked with the right training and a scheme set up whereby the best American referees from the program are not brought over on a work placement with the lower leagues and eventually the Premier League. Once again it creates interest in an emerging market, it creates a news opportunity and a story for the media to follow. 

It gets the topic of refereeing into the spotlight, which should encourage others to take up the opportunity. IIt would be an ideal chance to get ex-professional footballers involved with the game. How many actually go on to become a referee? None that I can think of. They could also be used in an educational capacity, referees need to know the players point of view, not just the officials, it aids their decision making and understanding of the role.

There is a lot that could be done within the game but isn't. It can't be because of money because the Premier League is awash with it. Why don't the Premier League use just a tiny portion of that money and start a program? They'd be giving something back to the game.

The other referees are Joel Aguilar (El Salvador), Jose Argote (Venezuela), Julio Bascunan (Chile), Enrique Caceres(Paraguay), Victor Carrillo (Peru), Andres Cunha (Uruguay), Roberto Garcia (Mexico), Heber Lopes (Brazil), Patricio Loustau(Argentina), Yadel Martinez (Cuba), Ricardo Montero (Costa Rica), John Pitti (Panama), Wilmer Rodan (Colombia), Gery Vargas (Bolivia) and Roddy Zambrano (Ecuador).