The Premier League is investigating the launch of its own chain of themed bars to show live and recorded football in the style of the Sports CafÃ© and Football Football.
But unlike these two existing bars, the league is considering its own outlets in big towns and cities without Premiership clubs, outside London.
Miles Pearce, Premier League licensing and merchandising manager, says: “We are initially looking at areas where there are no Premiership clubs. Places like Cardiff or Bristol. We could have a big impact here. Although, if things work out we can’t avoid London.”
Another source close to the project says the Premiership will seek backers to finance the deal. The league, which will lend its name and football expertise, is planning no more than three or four bars in the short-term.
It says it will invite its sponsors and partners to collaborate in this and other ventures. The sponsors are currently Bass-owned Carling, McDonald’s, Sony PlayStation, Wilkinson Sword, NestlÃ©-owned Yorkie, and The Telegraph. If the idea is taken up, the first bars are likely to open in the middle of next year.
The Premiership plans to step up its national and international commercial activity. Pearce says: “We are only interested in substantial national and international merchandising deals. We will leave smaller local agreements to the clubs.”
In November the Premier League reached a three-year agreement for the international TV rights with IMG-owned Trans World International and French TV company Canal Plus.