Lawyers this month finally completed six months of three-way negotiations to sell the English Premier League's overseas television rights – just in time for the start of the 1998/99 season.
Although the deal to sell the rights to French pay-tv company Canal Plus for £100m over three years was announced back in January, Denton Hall partner Adrian Barr-Smith – who advised the Premier League – said the Asian crisis had delayed the deal and had: “created a climate of uncertainty in negotiating the fine print of the document”.
Canal Plus will broadcast programmes on its own channels around the world but it has appointed TransWorld International (TWI) to sell the programmes to broadcasters in countries where Canal Plus does not operate, particularly in Asia where there are many followers of English football.
But the collapse of currencies in Asia had led to uncertainty over revenues, a point TWI's in-house counsel, Jeremy Cole, no doubt emphasised in negotiations.
Tony Ghee, media partner at Ashurst Morris Crisp, who advised Canal Plus, said: “The Asian crisis did not make TWI's job any easier.”
But he added: “Football is football and will sell.”