While the maligned Dutch hockey men are giving the Brits a severe beating at the Olympics ( 9-2, well done!) I am writing this post on what might well be a turning point in Dutch football.
The big news, only days before the Eredivisie starts, is not about a transfer or Louis van Gaal or about Feyenoord missing out on the CL. It’s about a multibillion dollar man from Australia putting his money where his mouth is. And sadly, this guy isn’t me. (yet)
Through my football contacts in Holland I was aware something was brewing, but since yesterday we know it’s about former Aussie Rupert Murdoch’s Fox network who pay 1 Billion euros for the right to broadcast the Eredivisie for the next 12 seasons.
Keith Rupert Murdoch (81) is seen as one of the most influential media tycoon on the planet. He is currently the number 106 on the Forbes list of most wealthy people on the planet and he’s the major sharegolder of News Corporation. The media tycoon was born in Melbourne but became a US citizen in 1985.
Murdoch made a name for himself in Australia first and become a global name when he bought the infamous News of the World and later on The Sun and The Times.
In 1985 he acquired the Twentieth Century Fox film studio and this deal forced him to become a US citizen. Fox is currently one of the biggest tv networks and BSkyB is also part of the Fox family.
His image got a dent last year/this year when it was made known that reporters of his News of the World hacked into computers to obtain private records and to manipulate the news in order to sell more advertising and editions.
Murdoch now acquired the Eredivisie Live channel and will expand this – most likely – into an American-type show with entertainment and all.
Murdoch will have the rights to live and high light footage but as he did in other countries, he will most likely make the time gap between both broadcast wider (time-slicing) in order to force more people to get a subscription to the live games. The highlights will also be seen on the free-to-air network, as decreed by the Dutch government.
Currently, the high lights are with the NOS ( Studio Sport) but the NOS CEO already spoke of a media revolution and admitted it will be tough for the NOS to hang on to the rights for high lights.
Jan de Jong, NOS CEO: “It’s like someone bought Rembrand’s De Nachtwacht and will take it out of the Rijksmuseum, where you can see it for free, and who will show it now in his private collection for a hefty fee. We do like to show the high lights of course, but we can not compete with Murdoch and we don’t want to.”
Dutch sports marketing guru Frank van den Wall Bake: “Murdoch will most likely use this sports channel to add more sports. In terms of pay tv, Holland is a toddler. The consumer will be happy to pay more for great broadcasts. The 7 pm high lights will most likely shift to 9 pm. If you pay a bit more, you can get the live games, plus a juice game at 6 pm and the high lights at 9 pm. I don’t think this will result in too much commotion.”
Most sports experts in Holland see this deal as the saviour for Dutch football. Media expert Anton Lippold comments on the unexpected deal: “The competitive position of the big clubs will become much stronger. Finally, tv income will make a huge jump and the clubs will be enabled to compete better. Murdoch has big plans for Dutch sports and it won’t stop with football. Fox wants to own most international football competitions and believes the Dutch competition is really interesting in quality for the viewer.”
As an example, today Ajax receives 3 Mio euro tv money every season, in the new situation, clubs like Ajax will get close to 8 or 9 million euro.