Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani has warned of a threat to Leeds United and the wider football world from an unlikely source – Fortnite.
Radrizzani was talking at the Financial Times’ Football Business Summit when some bad news was delivered by media industry analyst Claire Enders.
She claimed that the TV rights bubble has burst and that this will have a dramatic effect on the game.
This is already being seen in France where clubs are gearing up for fire sales.
As Matt Slater wrote in the Athletic, “From French club presidents talking about the ‘disaster’ of seeing their broadcast income halved when Mediapro’s new channel collapsed, just two months into the season, to Leeds United chairman Andrea Radrizzani warning that kids prefer Fortnite to football, it certainly sounded like the end that Enders has been talking about.”
Slater claims that the next Premier League auction, that would have normally taken place this month, is now being postponed until the end of the season.
Radrizzani, owner of Eleven Sports, said it was “maybe a good moment to look at a new way” and called for clubs to be given more control of their own matches.
He said, “Maybe they end up spending more but they want the flexibility to decide what they watch when they want.
“We need to attract their attention when there are many other events, including Fortnite and League of Legends. They’re very busy. TV has become wallpaper while they do other things.”
It might be easy to say that this is a convenient time for Radrizzani to start pumping his own Eleven Sports again, but he is a businessman who has his finger on the pulse.
We are consuming media in a very different way – Netflix has done this – and the next generation expect more from what they watch and how they watch it.
The Covid pandemic has broken the traditional model of the 3pm Saturday shutout, with every game being televised live.
We know that even if that continued it wouldn’t have an effect on the Elland Road crowd.
This has traditionally been the worry of the football world but it’s one that just doesn’t hold up at the top of the game.
The Premier League rights auction has been postponed until the end of the season, presumably with the hope that the worst of the Covid pandemic has subsided b that point.
And, at the moment, it seems that no one can really rival Sky and its money.
What will be interesting to see is how much that equates to now and whether the bubble has burst.
As for the threat of Fortnite, it’s real. More and more of the younger generation are playing video games and consuming media the way they want.
Football needs to adapt into this new world or face a very real threat to the lucrative contracts it’s got used to.
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