Iranian Clubs Demand More Money from TV Rights Deals
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting is the only official media covering Iran Pro League matches. According to Iran’s Constitution, privately-held companies are not allowed to run TV channels. This has left IRIB as the only local media broadcasting IPL matches.
Based on the current agreements between Iran’s Football Federation and IRIB, Iranian football clubs earn some $5.5 million a year from TV deals. At the same time, the costs involved in operating football clubs have increased significantly because of the excessive fluctuations in Iran’s exchange markets.
Ali Fathollahzadeh and Mohammad Royanian, the managing directors of Esteghlal and Persepolis, have already asked the officials of IRIB to pay more money to clubs. Fathollahzadeh has even threatened to stop IRIB from airing Esteghlal matches, if the governmental organization refuses to pay more money to Iranian football teams.
Recently, Royanian visited Ezzatollah Zarghami, the Head of IRIB, to discuss the common problems in person. “I asked Zarghami to change the terms of current TV contract with local football clubs. But he refused to make any comment in this regard.” Mohammad Royanian told reporters on Monday.
On the other side, Fathollahzadeh says he has already negotiated with Members of Parliament, who monitor the activities and contracts of IRIB, over the subject. “I can pay at least $20 million to Iranian clubs, if the managers of IRIB allow me to launch my own television channel in Iran. I will even pay another $20 to IRIB.”
“15 years ago, I penned a contract with German ZDF channel to sell broadcasting rights of Esteghlal matches for a remarkable price. However, the Iranian government and IRIB didn’t let me finalize that deal because of the security problems.” Ali Fathollahzadeh remarked in an interview with local media.
Fathollahzadeh also went on to highlight the economic potential of football by saying: “Currently, European and Asian clubs are making great amounts of money by selling the broadcasting rights of their matches.”