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Radrizzani not happy as Sky choose four more Leeds games
Tuesday, 4th Sep 2018 00:23 by Tim Whelan

Sky have announced their next group of fixtures they have selected for live coverage, and another four Leeds matches will feature in October and November. We’re not famous any more!

The four games are Brentford at home (now 12.30 on Saturday October 6th), Forest at home (5.30 on Saturday October 27th), Wigan away (1.30 on Sunday November 4th) and WBA away (5.30 on Saturday November 10th). And this list doesn’t include a live still to come that we already knew about, our visit to the Wendies at the end of this month.

These new selections will mean that nine of our first 17 league games will have been selected for live coverage. And that’s without taking into account that all midweek games in the Championship can now be seen live on Sky via the red button, albeit with only one camera and commentator and without interviews.

We all know why Sky keep selecting so many Leeds games, and now Andrea Radrizzani taken to Twitter to announce that the audience for Leeds live games is almost half a million each time, by far the best figures for any Championship club. With his background in sports broadcasting, Radz is obviously unimpressed that Leeds will have received compensation payments of a mere £460,000 in total for these nine TV appearances.

Under the current arrangement the home teams earn £100,000 a game, though this rises to see £120,000 for a Sunday home match, presumably due to additional costs. Away teams get a set fee of only £10,000 for every appearance, even if they are the ones that most of the viewing public have tuned in to watch.

Radrizzani’s predecessor Mr. Cellino famously threatened to lock the Sky cameras out of Elland Road, and claimed that Leeds actually lose money when home games are televised, as the financial compensation from Sky is less than the money we lose from ticket sales. This explains why the current owner is so desperate to get us back into the Premiership, where the real TV money lies.

On top of the individual match fees Leeds also get a fixed payment. The current EFL TV deal brings in £90m a year which is shared across all 72 league clubs, with Championship sides receiving the bulk of the payments. Which is a fraction of the amounts that are still flowing into the Premier League from their separate contracts with various broadcasters.

By rights Leeds should get a higher percentage of the money the Football League TV rights, both as compensation for the disruption and a reward for the value of the extra viewers we attract. But a change to the distribution of this income would need a change in the League rules, and there is no way the other clubs will agree. Turkeys voting for Christmas and all that.

As well as Leeds United losing gate money, there is also the inconvenience to fans who will have booked travel and possibly even accommodation in advance, only for the game to be moved to a different time, or even another day. This applies to home games as well as away, with Leeds fans coming from all parts of the country and from overseas.

As a group of Norwegians explained on Twitter tonight, if they delay booking their flights until the fixtures are confirmed, then the prices will have gone up. While many locals object to the variety of kick-off times we are subjected to across a whole weekend, hence the rude chanting about Sky during the game last Friday!

And yet the last time I said that fewer Leeds games should be televised to benefit the match-going fan, I got a comment from a fan in Germany who wanted more games on TV so he didn’t have to travel. Which just goes to show you can’t please everyone!

So now I’ll make another suggestion. If we really must have so many games on Sky, they should tilt the balance so that fewer Leeds home games are chosen and we feature more times away from home. Preferably prioritising the away games when we suffer a low ticket allocation, such as 2,500 or less.

That would mean that Leeds wouldn’t lose so much from ticket sales at home games, through fans either preferring to watch at home or being forced to because they can’t get to Elland Road at the revised kick-off time. And if more away games were chosen, fans would at least have the chance to watch at home or down the pub when they didn’t manage to get hold of a match ticket.

Would everybody be happy then?

Reuters Media Express

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