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What Drives Sports TV Rights? A Comparative Analysis of their Evolution in English and French Men’s Football First Divisions, 1980-2020

Scelles, Nicolas and Dermit-Richard, Nadine and Haynes, Richard (2020) What Drives Sports TV Rights? A Comparative Analysis of their Evolution in English and French Men’s Football First Divisions, 1980-2020. Soccer and Society, 21 (5). pp. 491-509. ISSN 1466-0970

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Abstract

This article consists of a comparative analysis of the evolution of TV rights in English Premier League and French Ligue 1 men’s football over the 1980-2020 period. It aims to understand the differences in this evolution in both leagues. It first reviews the literature on football TV rights in Europe then the history of pay-TV football in the UK and France. A framework to be tested is then suggested with the identification of 16 independent variables. Correlations are calculated between these variables and TV rights in England and France to test whether the suggested framework is supported by empirical evidence. These correlations enable to explain why TV rights for the Premier League have become much larger than for the Ligue 1. They show that the main driver for TV rights is the main domestic broadcaster’s turnover. They also enable the identification of a virtuous circle for the Premier League.

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