After a period of doom and gloom for the lower leagues in English football, things may be looking up. August 2019 was a low point for the sport after Bury Football Club collapsed following C&N Sporting Risk pulling out of talks to buy the club. The team entering administration meant that it was expelled from the EFL, the first time this has happened since Maidstone in 1992.
Where’s The Money?
It’s no secret that the majority of money in English football is concentrated at the top, with teams like Manchester United worth £4 billion. These high valuations are in part thanks to the large payments teams receive from the sale of the Premier League TV rights, which are worth around £1.7 billion each year.
In the wake of Bury’s collapse, the Premier League teams are considering increasing the payments made to teams in the lower tiers of the pyramid. After all, it does not look good for the top teams if they’re succeeding and the ones below them are struggling to escape collapse.
Currently, Championship sides receive £4.5 million per season in what are called “solidarity payments”. Smaller payments are made to League One and League Two sides, which receive £675,000 and £460,000 respectively.
Manchester United is now proposing to increase these payments to help the teams in these leagues to be more sustainable.
Other Sources of Cash
Betting on football, which was once dominated by the Premier League, is spreading out across the English football pyramid. Even leagues in the seventh and eighth tiers are now sponsored by bookmakers, with sponsorship deals with teams in most leagues now in place.
This is becoming a significant source of revenue for football teams throughout the country, as fans look to place bets on their favourite and local teams. This has also sparked a rise of websites like Oddschecker, who provide football betting tips on a wide array of leagues, including Scunthorpe United’s League Two games.
Other sources of cash can include arranging friendly matches with larger teams, developing and then selling talent, or ground sharing with professional clubs’ reserve teams.
A Brighter Future?
It seems that the collapse of Bury may have been rock bottom for English football. The future may look brighter now as the sport’s most wealthy learn lessons from the debacle and take action to stop it from happening again.
Ultimately, lower league teams getting into difficulty brings the sport into disrepute and the most powerful don’t want this to happen. Therefore, they have no choice but to act.