The Premier League Turns 25: 5 Ways English Football Has Changed From 1992/3

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Today the Premier League, the world’s richest and most popular football league in the world, turns 25 years old. Its huge impact can’t be understated, and I’ve pulled out five areas which England’s top flight football league has become synonymous with. Also, if you want to get the full background on how the Premier League finally came to fruition, read this great Guardian article.

1. TV Money: In its 25 years, there have been eight different TV deals secured worth over an incredible £12 billion in total to the English game. In 1992, TV revenue was worth a paltry £191 million (or £2 million for each club). However, the last TV deal, signed in 2015, was worth a staggering £5.1 billion, with each club earning £81 million a season.

The rights seemed the most bankable of all TV content, until last season, with Sky Sports seeing a 14% decrease in viewers.  The next deal will likely be historic as digital-only players finally make a run at the established forces of Sky and BT, especially in light of Amazon’s first UK broadcasting deal signed with the ATP.

2. Transfers: An obvious one in the current climate, but the contrast from 1992 is worth reviewing. The first Premier League season saw 114 transfers, worth £56 million. However, even in its infancy, the new league’s effect was clear. Compared to 1991/1992, there was £16 million more spent in 1992/93. 

To date this season (2017/18), there has been 92 signings with an incredible £1 billion spent. For 2016, English clubs spent a record amount of £1.1 billion.

Whereas at one time the signing of Jurgen Klinsmann for Spurs seemed exotic and new, now it is the new standard.

3. English Players: Which leads into this difference. In 1992/93, just 13 foreign players played in the league. Currently, there are over 370 foreign players, which amounts to 67% of the League being from outside the UK.

4. Match Attendances: As the league became more wealthy, many clubs invested in build new stadiums or investing in their current ones. This is borne out in the attendance figures too, with an average 21,000 achieved in the Premier League’s first season.

This contrasts with an overall average of 35,000 last season, in an environment where tickets are also much more expensive and hard to come by.

5. Overseas Impact: There can be little argument, the Premier League is by far the most popular professional football league in the world. Its overseas impact has been significant and could actually help to turbo charge the League for the next 25 years too. This is because overseas broadcasting rights are exploding in price. From 2013/16, the rights were worth £228 million, while from 2016/19 they have jumped to £443 million, an increase of 93%.

The Premier League’s spectacular first 25 years will be hard to replicate, but with the league so popular abroad, this could how it survives and thrives for another 25 years.

Dave Claxton

I'm a PR professional and journalist for SportTechie. I'm blogging about how business is increasingly impacting sports in this ever connecting world.

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