Examination of Witnesses (Questions 1420
TUESDAY 13 DECEMBER 2005
Mr Richard Scudamore
Q1420 Lord Peston:
Is there also pay-per-view in Turkey?
Mr Scudamore: Yes.
We have more or less come to the end. Again, I will ask the question
we asked our previous witness. I assume that you, irrespective
of what the European Commission have done, want the minimum of
interference in your freedom?
Mr Scudamore: Only because I think we have acted
quite responsibly. I think we have let more and more content into
the market. We have managed it in such a way that we are not over-exposed
and therefore attendances have held and attendances have grown
some 67 per cent since we started, and we have created this virtuous
circle that says, "Here is the best football competition
in the world"; we use that interest, we generate the income
and we distribute it. There is grass-roots investment. Five per
cent of all our TV money goes into the Football Foundation. There
is a whole virtuous circle that says you sell collectively, you
generate the value through your intellectual property, you redistribute
the money to keep the league very competitive by reinvesting it
in stadia, by reinvesting it in the best playing talent in the
world, you meet your corporate social responsibility requirements
by redistributing money to grass roots and you keep this virtuous
circle going. We have managed to do that without too much regulation
and interference and in our view we should be allowed to continue.
When you were doing the negotiation with the European Commission
presumably you lobbied pretty fiercely, did you not?
Mr Scudamore: We have always within the political
circles, certainly at Westminster and Brussels, had huge support
for the idea that we are intellectual property rights owners who
should be allowed in a responsible way to sell our intellectual
properties to the highest bidder, and ultimately that is the bit
that wins you through.
I am not sure if that was a yes or a no.
Mr Scudamore: I would not say we lobby. We talk
to a lot of people whom we find it very easy to get support from
for this particular topic. Whether that is a heavy lobbyI
do not particularly see that it is.
Did you manage to get the Government to help you as well in putting
Mr Scudamore: I think the Government were very
So the Government were putting your case in Brussels?
Mr Scudamore: I do not think they necessarily
were directly putting our case. They were certainly very supportive
of collective selling and very supportive of the way the Premier
League redistributes its money for the benefit of grass roots
in this country. Because of that I think they are very supportive
and they are also very wary of the alternative, which is the Italian
model or the Spanish model, which is individual selling, which
only means that the richer clubs get richer and the poorer clubs
You said a number of times that what you foresee as the future
is live games on pay TV and the highlights on free-to-air. Is
Mr Scudamore: No. I do not see the future as
anything other than that the bidders that bid will win, and if
that is free-to-air that is fine. If that is pay, that is fine.
We are technology neutral now. If a broadband operator wishes
to put it out into a controlled broadband environment, that is
I must have misunderstood in that case. Did I not hear you say
that you envisaged a position where the highlights would always
be on free-to-air?
Mr Scudamore: That is free-to-air highlights.
Mr Scudamore: I think the difference between
highlights and live
Yes, that is what I am talking about.
Mr Scudamore: Because we are technology neutral,
whether that is free-to-air, pay, broadband, we are completely
neutral as to where those end up. I cannot envisage a position
where we would not in any circumstances, no matter what happens
to live, have free-to-air highlights.
Chairman: That was the point I was getting
Q1430 Lord Kalms:
You described your organisation several times as a virtuous circle,
which is quite an interesting comment. As a market economy man,
would you mind if I suggested that it is also a golden circle
that you have created? Virtuous and goldenit is a unique
Mr Scudamore: It is.
Chairman: You have been very patient.
Thank you very much indeed. There may be one or two other points
that we would like to raise, so perhaps we could write to you
on that. Thank you for your time.