Luckily it still has plenty of eager football fans watching at home
THE PREMIER LEAGUE, the top tier of English football, is set to resume play on June 17th after a three-month, coronavirus-induced hiatus. After considering several less desirable options—including awarding final league positions on a points-per-game basis and voiding the current season entirely—clubs eventually decided to play the remaining 92 matches behind closed doors over the next six weeks. The return to action, dubbed “Project Restart”, will give a boost to the country’s morale as well as to clubs’ bottom lines.
Television-rights revenue may have been the deciding factor. Such fees totalled just over £3bn ($3.8bn) in the 2018-19 season, or roughly 60% of clubs’ total income. Had clubs opted not to play the outstanding matches, they would have had to return some of this cash to broadcasters, refunding up to £760m ($955m) according to some estimates. This would have piled yet more pressure on an already loss-making set-up: the 20 clubs in the league recorded a cumulative pre-tax loss of £165m last season.