Scottish Premier League (SPL) head, Neil Doncaster, has squarely rejected the possibility of Rangers and Celtic negotiating TV rights deals on an individual basis. This is to the dismay of the two Scottish giants as they would be able to command a much higher price by not participating in the SPL’s collective bargaining arrangement.
Doncaster’s decision to share revenue between all SPL teams safeguards the long term health of the league. Without a redistributive mechanism the league would become even less competitive as the smaller teams become unable to bring in talent to match the commercially more successful teams. Subsequently the league becomes less entertaining for anyone not a fan of Rangers and Celtic, and arguably grows boring for those supporters as well. While it is far-fetched to think that the league would go into some kind of death spiral, it seems hard to dispute that unexciting football is not the benefit of anyone involved, whether supporter, owner, broadcaster or league official.
This brings me back to the question that crops up so often on Footy Finance: What is the purpose of Football? And by extension, what is the purpose of the Football Associations and Leagues of their respective countries? It is first to deliver exciting, entertaining football for the supporters, not profits to the club owners. It seems that too many people have the relationship reversed. Irresponsible management of clubs and leagues causes competition unrelated to the skills of players and managers; supporters should be worrying about free kicks, not financial statements.