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(Monday 25th June 2000)
The recent announcement of three major media related sponsorship deals should mean a cash bonanza for all Nationwide Football League clubs, including cash conscious Wycombe. New TV deals covering League and FA Cup matches starting from the 2001/2002 season will pump more than 700 million into the wage spiral equation. Wycombe will also have the option to grab a slice of a new Internet related joint venture between The Football League and NTL. Media giants NTL are investing 65million over five years, with all participating clubs sharing in the profits of the joint venture.

The Football League TV deal sees digital TV operators ONdigital teaming up with ITV for the rights to broadcast Nationwide and Worthington Cup matches. The deal will be worth 315million over the three period - a figure that is four times the present agreement held by Sky and ITV. According to newspaper reports Wycombe should stand to make around 600,000 per season when the deal kicks in at the start of the 2001/2002 season. Under the terms of the new deal, ONdigital will screen 88 games each season from the First, Second and Third divisions, as well as from the Worthington Cup - many of these games will be on a pay-per-view basis. ITV will show one of the semi-finals and the final of the Worthington Cup, as well as the final play-off match for Premier League status. Wycombe may also benefit from ITV's rights to show 15 live regional matches each season.

The rights to show FA Cup matches, also from the start of the 2001/2002 season, was won by a joint bid by SKY and BBC. The announcement of the deal, worth 400million over three years, came just one day after the BBC lost its rights to Premiership highlights to rivals ITV.
The BBC seem keen to reinstate the FA Cup back to its former glory. Along with SKY they have agreed that all games will be played on a Saturday or Sunday with replays being held in the same week.
At a news conference, BBC Director General Greg Dyke, said "The qualifying rounds, semi finals and, of course, all important FA Cup Final, are back in their rightful home. We want to turn the weekend back into an FA Cup weekend. All the games will be played during the weekend so when the draw is made in peak time on BBC on a Sunday, all the game's will have been played."

The new Internet Joint Venture between The Football League and NTL was announced on 19th June. In a statement to the press Brian Phillpotts, Commercial Director of the Football League said "We are extremely excited about this partnership with NTL. The internet provides the Football League with a fantastic opportunity to interact with it's truly loyal and sizeable audiences - the fans. This deal will provide the fans with unrivalled content and e-commerce opportunities via one portal."

Barclay Knapp, Chief Executive Officer of NTL added "Today's announcement clearly establishes NTL's commitment to football at all levels throughout the UK. The Internet portal will give fans a unique way of supporting their clubs online and enables their clubs to be direct participants in the new digital age. For NTL, this is also a great opportunity to build a profitable online business, providing online services to the six million dedicated fans of the Football League."

To benefit from the deal, clubs will have to opt into an agreement with the Football League to become part of a 'portal' site. Payments to the clubs will initially be based on their League standing and status. This will be supplemented by advertising revenue and commission from sales made via the Football League portal. The 'portal' site could be launched as early as the start of the forthcoming season. Wycombe would stand to receive over 100,000 during the first of the deal.

Although the money will be a welcome boost to Wycombe, it's clear that unless the money is spent wisely, it could just mean another trigger for the ever increasing wage bill.

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