But Fans Don’t Own Football

Fans are the customers of football, not the owners. Which makes this rant against Amazon Prime a little odd:

Players will earn more, clubs will spend more; every part of the football industrial complex will welcome this frothing new income stream. But in reality this money comes, as ever, from those who pay to watch. The entry of BT Sport into this marketplace was similarly trumpeted as a golden moment of choice. In practice it became necessary for football supporters to pay twice, to engage with yet another monthly contract, just to receive essentially the same service.

With the entry of a third major provider it remains a late-stage capitalism kind of choice. No matter how glossy and fun the Amazon product, how high the players’ salaries, English football fans are basically still being sold the same things they already owned in the first place.

Seriously, you’re never going to understand the economy if you’ve not got things like producer, consumer, straight in your own head.

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Spike
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Spike

Yes, the fact that it has historically been in teams’ interest to broadcast free, live coverage of its product does not mean anyone is entitled to it.

Americans for years enjoyed this “right” only if the stadium was sold out a certain time prior to the event. Free TV broadcasts have moved to cable where the viewer must pay for a suitable channel package. Even radio broadcasts are migrating toward FM stations so as to not be available out-of-town; those listeners cannot stream the signal without subscribing through the league.

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

Some English Football clubs are owned by the supporters (albeit not the most prominent ones). Wycombe Wanderers being one such until a few weeks ago, when 75% of the members voted for a takeover by a US businessman.

jgh
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jgh

Aren’t most Spanish clubs similarly supporter-owned? Historically, English clubs started out as being player-owned, as it was the players that wanted a ground and some organisation to let them play footie in the cricket off-season.

Spike
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Spike

In the US, I think this is unique to the Green Bay (Wisconsin) Packers of the NFL, ostensibly a common-stock corporation but with covenants to ensure that ownership is not freely convertible but reflects the “community.”

Surreptitious Evil
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Surreptitious Evil

Isn’t the “thing they owned” the ability to watch their team on the telly? Hence the complaint is about needing another 2 tv subscriptions rather than just (I assume) Sky Sports?

Nothing to do with ownership of the team.

Spike
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Spike

Yup, and they didn’t “own” that. There was always a price to pay for watching those games, which was sitting through the adverts. There has been no revolution; the price has simply risen, as you would expect to fund the start of the snippet: “Players will earn more, clubs will spend more”.