All-Ireland soccer league 'could bring in over £1m in rights fees'
A mooted all-Ireland soccer league, merging the Northern Ireland Football League with the Republic of Ireland’s League of Ireland, could bring in over £1 million ($1.27 million) in media rights fees, according to Kieran Lucid, the entrepreneur behind the proposal.
Lucid told the Belfast Telegraph that he “would like to start in May 2020-2021,” with 34 clubs competing in three divisions, adding: “We are in discussions with broadcasters and already have an offer on the table from a broadcaster. It is a seven-figure sum, as in over €1 million ($1.14 million), and it is over £1 million as well. The reception from the broadcasters to this all-island dimension has been remarkably positive.
“This idea started back in 2017 so it has been a long process. I’ve met clubs multiple times and the warmth to the idea has grown over time. Initially there was more warmth in the north than the south but that is changing now. The answer from the clubs tends to be, ‘if the money is there and our members are behind the idea, we will consider it’.”
Denying that the move would also involve a merger of the national teams of Ireland and Northern Ireland, Lucid continued: “It will have no impact on the two national teams. The all-island element would come in the league and the League Cup and have no effect on the Irish Cup which is run by the IFA [Northern Ireland’s Irish Football Association]. Our group has no design on the national teams.
“This is about raising standards in football plus bringing proper sponsorship and broadcasting revenue on board.
“The league company we would set up would be a separate company owned 100 per cent by the clubs and we would have 34 clubs in that company.
“We would have a 14-team Premiership and a 20-team Championship, divided into two leagues of north and south which is a line drawn by the league as opposed to the border, with promotion and relegation.”