InsiderSport: On The Ball – ITV plans its Champions League return

From sponsorship to the ever-expanding world of football media coverage, when it comes to the business of football, InsiderSport has you covered.

This week’s OTB reports on ITV pending battle to regain Champions League coverage,  Raheem Sterling’s latest commercial success and Tim Howard’s history-making role with Everton FC.

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 ITV eyes UCL battle rights with BT Sport

UK free to air broadcaster ITV is reportedly set to bid for the chance to regain the British broadcasting rights to the UEFA Champions League (UCL).

As is reported by The Times, UEFA, the governing body of European football, has sent interested UK broadcasters the tender for its club competition rights which will run from 2021 to 2024.

BT Sport, the current broadcaster of the competition, won the rights to the UCL back in 2015 and since then UEFA has seen its flagship club competition received a reduced level of TV exposure in the UK due to BT’s subscription-only service.

Philip Jansen, BT’s chief executive, confirmed that the broadcaster is seeking to keep hold of its exclusive Champions League rights: “We’ll be very disciplined when we bid for the Uefa Champions League rights, which is the next one that is coming up.”

The tender document has split the rights up into several different packages, including one which reportedly includes the sole rights to the UCL final. With this being said, due to the final being one of the UK government’s listed events it is made to be available for free-to-air broadcasting.

Jansen further discussed BT’s plans and added that sport had played a “key role” for the company, but said they would not “ go into more content at all”, and will not be looking to expand its sports coverage in the near future.

By the end of its current broadcasting contract with UEFA, BT will have held the UCL rights for six years, stretching between 2015 and 2021. In that time, the broadcaster has paid over £2 billion for its exclusive coverage of the competition.

The tender documents are set to bundle together the Europa League as well as UEFA’s newest competition, the Europa Conference League.

Raheem Sterling has been unveiled as the new face of Gillette

Manchester City star and last season’s Premier League Young Player of the Yearplayer Raheem Sterling has been confirmed as the new face of Gillette.

As was reported by the Telegraph, the deal will see Sterling replace Thierry Henry and become English football’s biggest commercial earner since David Beckham.

Gary Coombe, Gillette’s chief executive, confirmed the signing of Sterling and explained how the 24-year-old international’s growing off-field influence was a key reason for the deal:“We have agreed a partnership with Raheem Sterling. He is a great soccer player but the reason we were very keen to join up with Raheem was because he is doing wonderful work beyond the world of soccer. His stance on tackling racism is very congruent with our values and the sort of person we want to be associating ourselves with.”

As is mentioned by Coombe, Sterling has been at the forefront of the fight against racism in football and has seen his social influence hit new heights since posting on social media last year in which he challenged the portrayal of young black players in the media.

The Gillette chief executive added: “In the past we have worked with Pele, Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and Thierry Henry. They were athletes who transcended the tribalism of the game and are well-respected generally. That’s important for us and Raheem fits in that company.”

Sterling, who ranked second in this year’s list of the world’s 50 most marketable athletes has also been linked to brands such as Nike’s Jordan who is reportedly interested in breaking into the football boot market.

Tim Howard appointed Everton’s first-ever US ambassador

Everton Football Club has announced former goalkeeper Tim Howard as the club’s first-ever international ambassador in the United States of America.

Howard, who spent 10 years at Goodison Park after arriving in 2006, made a club record 354 Premier League appearances for Everton before moving to his native US in 2016. He then spent three years with MLS outfit the Colorado Rapids before calling time on his 22-year long career at the weekend.

The former goalkeeper is set to make his first appearance in the role at an exclusive club hosted fan event in Austin, Texas on 26 October in which he has been announced as the star guest and is set to host a Q&A with fans in attendance.

As well as being the star guest at the event, Howard is also set to represent the club at NBC’s ‘Premier League Mornings Live’ earlier on the same day for the screening of the Premier League match between Everton and Brighton & Hove Albion.

Howard initially joined the Merseyside club on loan in 2006 before making his move permanent in 2007. Aside from Everton, he also featured for Manchester United and throughout his Premier League career amassed a total 132 clean sheets – making him joint seventh in the all time Premier League clean sheet charts

In his Everton ambassadorial position, the former FA Cup winner will focus on supporting commercial activities for the Club and its Official Club Partners whilst continuing to build the profile of Everton in the USA.

Howard, who started his career in the U.S, earned a record number 121 national caps for the US Men’s National Team, making him the most capped goalkeeper in USA history – the tally also sees him register as eighth in the all time US appearances list.

Injured players earned £166m in the EPL last season

A study undertaken by Catapult Sports, in conjunction with 21st Club, into the cost of injuries has uncovered that English Premier League (EPL) clubs paid an estimated £166m to injured players throughout the 2018/19 season.

The figure, which equates to 14% of the fixed wage expenditure across the EPL, saw both Manchester clubs contribute the most to the total with Man United paying £20.7m and champions Manchester City spending £23m on injured players.

Within the report it is stated that “professional players suffer 25-35 injuries per 1,000 hours of match exposure, giving the game an injury risk factor more than 1,000 times greater than other ‘high-risk’ industries. As the physical demands and financial stakes continue to increase, those injuries can be difficult to mitigate and often come with a significant cost.”

21st Club works with over 100 teams, leagues and associations globally whereas Catapult delivers wearable technology, athlete management and video analysis solutions to support performance optimization, injury risk mitigation and return-to-play operations.

The study also revealed which players cost their respective clubs the most money during their injury layoffs. Both Manchester clubs again led the charts, however, in this instance the roles were switched as Kevin De Bruyne of Man City (£5.23m whilst injured) registered behind Alexis Sanchez of Man United as the Chilean pocketed an estimated wage in the region of £6.4m during his 128-day injury spell.

As well as financial value, the study has also revealed the performance cost of injuries to a club in regards to league points. In this aspect, runners up Liverpool FC led the way by some margin in relation to the rest of the league with the club expected to have seen a 2.25 decline in points if its two best players were injured for half the season – Champions Manchester City could have expected an estimated decline of 0.9 points.

Other stats uncovered in the research included:

– The average cost of an injury during the 2018/19 EPL season was an estimated £200k in fixed wages.

– Players missed a total of 18,230 days through injury in the EPL last season.

– The average EPL player missed 8% of the campaign with injury.

– According to 21st Club’s Player Ratings, Tottenham suffered the most key high-quality player injuries last season, with Erik Lamela, Harry Kane and Dele Alli all missing at least 30% of the season.

– Wolves had the lowest cost of injuries during the season – £0.7m

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