A predicted fall in media value will cause the FA major problems in their search for broadcast partners for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. Current partners ITV, the commercial broadcaster, has written down the value of its investment in the rights and is not prepared to pay the same amount again.
ITV’s current deal runs from 2008-09 to 2011-12. Public-service broadcaster the BBC, expected to be ITV’s key rival in any auction, has this year made big cuts to its sports rights budget and a lack of competition will make a bidding war unlikely.
The FA, of which the FA Cup is the major piece of inventory, are seeking a two-year deal to synchronise its domestic free-to-air and pay-television deals. These have traditionally run concurrently in four-year deals.
However, when previous pay-television rights-holder Setanta collapsed one year into its contract, in 2009, ESPN, which picked up the rights, demanded a four-year deal from 2010-11 to 2013-14.
The association identified that the new media value could be lower in the accounts for the year ending 31 December 2010, released last Friday.
The FA reported that revenues for the year exceeded £300 million for the second year running with operating profit at £37 million, an increase of £31 million over 2009.