Murdoch snaffles Premier League mobile rights to boost The Times; Real Madrid breaks €500m barrier

Football saved Rupert Murdoch’s (part-owned) BSkyB from an early grave and now the ever-active media mogul (in his ninth decade) is hoping it can extend the life-support system for his British newspapers.

His News Corporation company News International has secured the rights to show Premier League ‘near-live’ clips (as they call them) from all its games, snatching the business away from Yahoo and ESPN. The deal is a coup for new News International CEO Mike Darcey who used to be in charge of content deals in his previous guise as COO of BSkyB.

Did BSkyB bid for these? Or did they leave the field clear for uncle Rupert, who tweeted “Goal!” on landing the deal.

The mobile coverage will be available only to the 300,000 digital subscribers to News Internationals three UK papers: The Times, the Sunday Times and the Sun, which is tough on the rest of us but when did the Premier League care about anything other than money?

Will it do the trick? The free app (initially anyway) will probably work wonders for the Sun’s forthcoming tablet offer. Are readers of The Times gagging for football highlights? Not sure about that that one.

Meanwhile, back to the pile of cash once known as The Beautiful Game, new figures from Deloitte show that Real Madrid is still the richest football club in the world – the first one to break the €500m barrier with revenue of €512m in 2012, up seven per cent on the previous year. Madrid’s cash pile was boosted by TV rights and VIP package sales.

Great rivals Barcelona came second with €483m while Manchester United was third and the top UK team with €396m. The UK’s Newcastle United makes it into the top 20 for the first time with €115m, testimony perhaps to the commercial acumen of its not especially popular owner Mike Ashley, of Sports Direct fame. The full list is here.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.