Why Sky will be winners even if the pubs win

Glasses are being raised across the land after the European Court of Justice released an interim statement that backed English pubs which continue to show 3pm kick offs broadcast from foreign satellites.
But, a note of warning before the warm beer is accompanied by champagne. If this is the final decision, it will deal a bitter cash blow to UK football at all levels and will allow Sky to become far more powerful than it is now – and here’s why.
The interim statement says that rights should not be sold on a nation-by-nation basis, but on a pan European basis.
So, only one set of Premier League rights will be available for the whole of Europe. The same will be applied to every league in the Union.
If that happens, it is safe to say only the biggest TV companies will be able to afford pan-European Prem League rights. And, all one broadcaster would have to do is put all their cash into buying rights for the three top leagues (Prem, La Liga and Serie A) and they would have enough football to fill their network – leaving deals with smaller leagues like the Football League, SPL and Dutch leagues of less interest and dumped, or sold off at a far lower price.
That would then leave one dominant network with Grade A rights which people will want to watch, and leaves very little chance of a rival making money from what’s left.
In this world, there are only really three TV networks who could pull off a mega-deal like this. ESPN, Canal Plus or Sky. In the current set-up of European TV, you have to say Sky’s presence in UK, Italy and Germany puts it in the driving seat.
So, even if they lose this case – it opens up a whole new market for them throughout Europe.
And then we come to the holy grail of 3pm kick offs. Will people really fill the terraces of smaller League clubs if they know they can watch a top flight European game from the comfort of a pub or their home, instead of freezing in the away end?
So Karen Murphy and her customers in Portsmouth may have the champers out now – but the change she is proposing could leave a bitter taste in all our mouths. Especially hers – as she could be forced to take out a subscription with Sky Sports Europe soon!