The Selling Mechanism of the Television Rights in Greek Professional Soccer
Koutroumanides, Christos, Laios, Athanasios, The Sport Journal
While in Greece, studies in the area of professional soccer clubs' TV rights are very rare, possibly even do not exist, in Europe and especially in the soccer-wise developed countries such as England, Germany, France and Italy. Various studies examined the professional soccer TV rights selling mechanism. Many studies use the USA sports TV market as an example and comparison (since modern sports marketing as we know it was born and developed in the US, and still influences the rest of the world.)
Since soccer became professional and commercialized, the selling of the TV rights was put on the table for discussion. The TV scene in all European countries became free starting from the 1980s until today, and that had much to do with the sharp increase in the professional soccer TV rights value in almost every European country and especially the most developed soccer-wise, such as England, Italy, France and Germany.
Tonazzi (4) points out the differentiality of the soccer market, arguing that while in other business areas a cooperation of the clubs would be characterized as an anticompetitive cartel, in soccer the product can be sold only if the clubs cooperate and offer a joint product. Otherwise, if clubs sell their rights separately, then it is certain that the most popular clubs will gain more income, which would be translated to higher quality players and an unbalanced championship.
Authors argue that if the TV income is lower, then the big clubs most probably will try to separate themselves from the clubs' league in order to make more money in the free market, selling their TV rights by themselves (13). One probable way to achieve this is the use of digital TV, where they could create tailor-made programs for their fans.
In Europe, England is a leading soccer country and the developments in its televised soccer scene are a case to study, when one wants to define the optimal rights selling mechanism. Poli (14) studies the Italian professional soccer TV rights status in depth.
In Greece, until the early 1990s, EPAE (the governing body of the Greek soccer championship) used to sell the TV rights of the Greek soccer championship collectively to ERT, the public broadcaster. In the early 1990s, private TV stations started bidding to acquire the TV rights of the Greek soccer championship, but it was again the public broadcaster ERT that gained the collective TV rights of the Greek championship. From 1995 to the present, Supersport, a sports channel with subscription fee, has had the TV rights to the majority of the clubs (in 2001 Alpha Digital--a digital platform--acquired the rights for the majority of the clubs, and in the last 3 years ERT has obtained the rights to Olympiakos FC and Xanthi FC). The redistribution system of TV income to the participating clubs is based upon factors like the position of the club in the standings, its market value, its stadium attendance and fans in general, etc.
The purpose of this study is to show that the current TV rights selling model mechanism, used by the Greek professional soccer clubs, is not the optimal one, and revenues and stadium attendance of the clubs could be higher if the way the clubs sell their TV rights were changed. The authors' hypothesis is that collective selling of TV rights of the Greek professional soccer clubs, based on performance and other criteria (fan base, stadium attendance, etc.), doesn't maximize the clubs' revenues or their stadium attendance. The need has been observed for a scientific approach and examination of the TV rights selling mechanism, so that the selling does not only lead to short-term monetary profit, but also to larger, long-term, welfare-wise profits for the parties involved.
Description of questionnaire--data
For the data collection a questionnaire was used. The questionnaire used in the present research mainly included closed-type questions. …