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InsiderSport: On The Ball – Revenues, Legal battles and the Coup de la Ligue

From sponsorship to the ever-expanding world of football media coverage, when it comes to the business of football, InsiderSport has you covered. This edition looks at Atletico Madrid’s revenue increase, Manchester United’s upcoming court battle and says farewell to the French Coup de la Ligue.

LFC fails in trademarking pursuit

Liverpool FC has lost its controversial attempt to trademark the word ‘Liverpool’. 

The club always maintained that its pursuit of trademarking the term was solely down to footballing reasons and to hinder those aiming to profit from ‘inauthentic products’. However, the IPO cited the geographical importance of the city in its decision not to allow the trademarking. 

In a statement, Liverpool FC said: “The club accepts the decision that has been taken by the Intellectual Property Office, due primarily to what the official judgement cites as ‘the geographical significance’ of Liverpool as a city in comparison to place names that have been trademarked by other football clubs in the UK. 

“We will, however, continue to aggressively pursue those large-scale operations which seek to illegally exploit our intellectual property.”

Peter Moore, the club’s chief executive officer, added: “It should be stressed that our application was put forward in good faith and with the sole aim of protecting and furthering the best interests of the club and its supporters. Nevertheless, we accept the decision and the spirit in which it has been made.

The plans were met with much hostility, including from one of the club’s most renowned supporter’s groups, Spirit of Shankly, who described the decision of the IPO as ‘a victory for common sense’. 

When the notion first came to light, the group emphasised the far reaching consequences the decision could have: “For decades, local traders outside of Anfield have sold scarfs, hats, T-shirts etc and for many it’s their sole source of income. Scores of those T-shirts have been, and still are, happily worn by players, past and present. These traders provide a vibrant alternative to the club’s official merchandise and are bought by thousands of fans every matchday. What happens to them?”

Atletico Madrid sees 27% revenue increase following star sales

Atletico Madrid’s busy transfer window has paid off as the club has announced it expects a revenue increase of 27% for the 2019/20 financial year. 

The La Liga side, who lost star players such as Antoine Griezmann, Rodri and Lucas Hernandez, were one of the busiest clubs in this summer’s transfer market as they looked to replace up to nine first team players. 

Miguel Angel Gil Marin, Atletico’s chief executive, commented on the window, stating: “We had to reinvent ourselves, the exits of Lucas, Griezmann and Rodri have made us make very risky decisions and we have suffered because of buyout clauses.

“A cycle which ended for a number of players came at the same time, some players wanted to leave and others didn’t but they did anyway. [Diego] Godin, Juanfran and Filipe [Luis] have all left and we’ve had to live through a generational change.”

The club received over €300m in transfer fees and spent less than €250m replacing the departures, most notably bringing in Portugese youngster Joao Felix for around €120m.  

The profits made in the transfer market no doubt aided Atleti’s increase in revenue, with Marin revealing the club is expecting to register a revenue of €515m.

As well as generating income from the selling of players, Atletico also raised approximately €182 million in the sale of its previous home stadium, the Vicente Calderon.

Marin concluded: “Our income in ten years has gone from €100 to €500 million and we have put that mainly down to our team. It was a very risky strategy but we have gone from 23rd to second in the Uefa rankings.”

Onefootball unites with Sportradar 

Onefootball has strengthened its OTT offering, announcing a new partnership with Sportradar.

The deal follows Onefootball’s entry into the sports broadcasting sector, with it showcasing premium football rights via a pay-per-view model through its own app in April 2019.

This growth will allow the brand to use the Sportradar OTT platform, which combines data and video to ensure the optimal viewing experience.

Onefootball, which already utilises Sportradar data to create engaging sports content and power its live score service, recently announced pay-per-view live streaming distribution partnerships with Sky Deutschland, for 2. Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal matches in Germany, and Eleven Sports for domestic Serie C matches in Italy as well as selected premium matches in Belgium and Luxemburg.

Onefootball will now leverage Sportradar’s data-driven OTT solution to support the expansion of its OTT offering with further rights holders across the globe.

Onefootball CEO & Founder, Lucas von Cranach, commented: “We are delighted to be taking our next steps in the streaming market and also build on our existing relationship with Sportradar by utilising and jointly customising their state-of-the-art OTT solution for our purposes.

“After test-launching in April, we have looked extensively for the most appropriate technological partner for the next chapter in this venture. Sportradar, with their global footprint, flexible solution and array of impressive work with other big industry names, is a natural choice.”

LFP abolishes Coupe de la Ligue

In a sure sign of the times, French league football (LFP) has announced that the French League Cup competition is no more.

The tournament had been in existence since 1995 but the league has now voted to no longer run the domestic league cup tournament.

The cup competition, based on the English League Cup format, included all league clubs from Ligues 1 & 2.

The winner of each season’s French League Cup competition qualified for the following season’s Europa League. Now, that spot will go to an extra team in the Ligue 1 standings.

Strasbourg are the current League Cup holders while giants Paris Saint Germain were the record holders, winning it 8 times in the competition’s 24-year history.

In an official statement, the LFP said: “This decision allows us to reduce the season schedule which gives players more time to recover and will give an extra European spot, via the Ligue 1 standings for the 2020-2021 season.

This means that as from next season, of the ‘big five’ leagues in Europe (Germany, Italy, Spain, England, France), only England will have a League Cup competition.

Television’s unchallenged sports broadcasting throne 

The ways in which sport is consumed is constantly changing. Thanks to the latest technological developments there are now multiple platforms for fans to watch sports. From online to mobile, viewing sports is only ever a fingertip away, but television still appears to be king. 

Read more…

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