Newcastle co-owner Amanda Staveley makes bold claim over Premier League's 'most valuable asset'

Amanda Staveley, chief executive officer of PCP Capital Partners LLP, at the Qatar Economic Forum (QEF) in Doha, Qatar, on Wednesday, May 15, 2024
Amanda Stavele spoke in Qatar about broadcasting live sport -Credit:Christopher Pike/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Newcastle United co-owner Amanda Staveley believes that it is only a matter of time before the way the Premier League is broadcast changes, with live sport the "most valuable asset" for rights owners.

Ever since 1992 and Sky TV changing the face of English football through its purchase of the Premier League’s broadcast rights, TV revenue has become an increasingly important part of the Premier League landscape.

The strength of media rights over the past 20 years, particularly during the 2010s, has helped create a significant wealth gap between English football’s top tier and its European rivals such as Spain’s LaLiga, Italy’s Serie A, and the German Bundesliga.

The most recent Premier League TV deal for domestic rights came in at £6.7billion, which on the face of it seemed to represent a £1.7bn rise from the previous cycle.

READ MORE: Newcastle notebook: High profile free transfer 'offered' to Magpies and Alex Murphy plan

READ MORE: Newcastle transfer state of play: Tosin deal claim, Kelly on list & early exits

But given that the deal was over four years not three, and the Premier League had given away more inventory to achieve the figure, with 270 games per season instead of 200, the actual value per game has diminished.

That stagnation comes at a time when wages are rising and the football becomes increasingly expensive at the top level, with new revenue streams constantly sought. The international rights, worth £5bn for the current cycle, are expected to show an increase in the forthcoming deal, buoyed by the booming popularity of the Premier League in new markets, most notably North America.

But with streaming services having become increasingly prominent, and the potential for a ceiling to be reached in terms of what broadcasters are both willing and able to pay, the idea of a direct-to-consumer service has been mooted in the past, which has been coined 'Premflix' by some. That kind of offering, Staveley believes, is something that will come to the Premier League in the not-too-distant future.

"I think we mustn't be complacent as rights owners, as live sport is the most valuable asset," said Staveley, speaking at the Qatar Economic Forum, presented by Bloomberg, on Wednesday.

"But we've got to make sure we deliver great entertainment. As I know from my own personal experience (with Newcastle), we try to do everything we can when we get a live game to make sure that we create as much artistry and magic around those games.

"When you're in any different things that compete, the competition for those live rights is going to increase. So I think the more innovative we can get then the rights will continue to increase. But I think we have to understand: how are we going to deliver those rights in the next 10 years?

"What's the Premier League going to look like? For instance, we just finished an international round (of broadcast rights). We've got other leagues going through their broadcast rights and there's going to be a massive step change from the way we deliver and consume rights traditionally now.

"How are we going to do that in the next six, seven years? That's going to mean that it might take a dip in valuation over a period while we get the infrastructure in place to make sure we can deliver a kind of direct-to-consumer model. At some point that will happen.

"Live sport is just so unique and we’ve got to make sure that we deliver it correctly."

The cost of infrastructure around such a project is the biggest hurdle that the Premier League would have to overcome. Having been so reliant on such major sums arriving from broadcasters for some time time, the prospect of seeing that financial package fall in value, if only in the short term, is a concern for shareholders, who are not keen to cede any ground to their major European rivals.