Here’s a prediction

Total transfer window spending 2016/17 by English Premier League Clubs

Since its inception in 1992 the English Premier League has become a global sports phenomenon. With every increase in television rights, player transfer values have rocketed and pundits have predicted that the inflationary trends would lead to implosion. Twenty four years since its inception, the Premier League bubble is yet to burst. When the 2016–19, £5.3bn, domestic broadcast rights deal was announced (71% increase on the 2013–16 domestic deal, that bubble got bigger. Add international rights, the Premier League’s global value now stands at £10.4bn; all distributed between the 20 Premier League clubs.

Yesterday’s record breaking, closing of the transfer window, reflects the impact of this mammoth deal. The staggering summer spending spree on player transfers surpassed £1.165bn, up from £870bn in the same period last year, dwarfing the original 2003/04 transfer window spend of £215m. It’s also double the nearest international league rival, Serie A, and exceeds the combined transfer spending of Budesliga, La Liga and Ligue 1.

What underlies the stratospheric spend is simple supply and demand.

No one has ever questioned the pulsating nature of the English game. The added excellence of world class players and managers, all battling to be champions, has fueled the explosion in mass global appeal for the league. The Premier League report that they have a global fan base of 1.2bn, 780m active club supporters and 930m league followers, consuming the weekly diet of football drama. That appeal spans 225 broadcast territories, 730 million homes and adds up to 232,000 hours of broadcast coverage. Eyeballs watching football = moneyball.

Who benefits besides the clubs? The players for sure. Transfer deal like Paul Pogba, £89m; John Stones, £47.5m; Leroy Sane, 37m; and Granit Xhaka, £35m; all lead to increased wages. The agents? No question. Their fees from October 2015 to February 2016 of £46.5 m will surely be surpassed by the recent window. The Grassroots? Hopefully. Finally, the top clubs have agreed to invest £1bn in grassroots facilities and programs. Let’s see how it pans out.

And we the fans? Thankfully, with many clubs’ ticket prices now capped, we can safely predict that we face a mouthwatering season of some monumental encounters and of course, the usual doze of pleasure and misery, depending what end of the league your team occupies. Who’s up for a prediction?

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