On Monday, London football club Crystal Palace won promotion to the top-flight Premier League. They defeated Watford to secure the third slot for promotion to England’s equivalent of the NFL. The win is estimated to be worth as much as $200 million. The club’s win is possibly the most lucrative prize in sport’s history.
One of the best features of the English Premier League is that, every year, the three worst performing teams are thrown out of the league. They don’t put up with teams like the Kansas City Chiefs across the pond. Likewise the three best teams in the lower Championship League are elevated each year to replace the slackers. The entire process creates a fluidity that makes almost every match important, even long after the champion has already been crowned.
The first two teams in the lower league win automatic promotion. The next tier of teams engage in a play-off to win promotion. On Monday, Crystal Palace defeated Watford to secure the third promotion to the Premier League. It is estimated that the move to the top league is worth $200 million to the club.
TV rights for English soccer have reached dizzying heights. This is likely to increase in the coming years as NBC launches a new focus on European soccer and powerhouse Manchester City teams with the New York Yankees to create a new American MLS club.
Americans have been largely immune from the “beautiful game.” Its defenses are cracking, however. More Americans are playing in the European leagues, which should make our national team more competitive. Our national team generally plays the “boring” kind of soccer. More exposure to European leagues should fix that. In addition, the World Cup next year will be waged in Brazil, well within our local time-zones.
Best to get ahead of the crowd and fall in love with the game all over again.