Radrizzani trumps big-hitters with jawdropping reported bid, this is gamechanger for Leeds
COMMENT By Editor Wayne Veysey
Some Leeds United fans reacted sniffily, and even angrily, after it emerged that Andrea Radrizzani’s Eleven Sports network has blown Sky Sports out of the water to seal the rights for Spain’s La Liga.
Given the jawdropping numbers involved – the Times claim Sky failed with a £54million offer to hold onto the rights for three more years – supporters are wondering why the Italian businessman couldn’t throw similarly mega sums at Leeds.
That would be a facile, and incorrect, interpretation of what is certainly a major move on the broadcasting scene by the United owner.
Eleven Sports and Leeds United are two entirely different businesses, and there is no reason why Radrizzani can’t run them both successfully at the same time. Most tycoons have umpteen companies and interests across the globe.
By ending Sky Sports’ long hold on Spanish football matches, Radrizzani has demonstrated ambition, savvy and an understanding of the TV rights market, his specialist area.
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But this is not just a big power play in a different field. There will be spin-off benefits for Leeds, too.
Radrizzani will be increasing his own wealth and, at the same, networking with broadcasters, league boards, clubs and sponsors.
Amid reports Eleven Sports is considering a move for the two unsold Premier League TV packages of 40 matches, the Leeds owner is getting his foot in a few doors that can pave the way for vast riches.
Sure, the investments are huge. But the benefits could be, too, with Leeds able to potentially invest far greater sums on players – specifically transfers and wages – in the coming years.
It is a gamechanging move by the United owner and a gamechanger for Leeds.