Tuesday 25 March 2008

Football fans worth £2.50 a year each in ITV sell-off

Earlier this month UK-based broadcaster ITV sold its 50% share in the Liverpool football club website liverpoolfc.tv to the club itself for £15.8m. This transaction was portrayed as part of ITV's programme of disposing of non-core assets. According to How-Do, the website is claimed to be the world’s most popular football club site, with over a million visitors a month. Last year http://www.liverpoolfc.tv/ was the only football club website represented in the UK's top ten sports sites, coming in at number nine with a market share of 1.39%. This year it has climbed to fifth spot and its market share has risen to 1.55%.

This transaction lets us hypothesise a simple equation for valuing commercial/sporting websites at current rates. If 12 million visitors a month enable a price of c. £30 million to be placed on the site, the site value works out at around £2.50 (that's around US$5) per visitor per year. This probably represents a mark-up for the fact that football fans exhibit more loyalty than the average casual site visitor and also display irrational market behaviour. It also probably incorporates a mark-up to take account of the goods and services that are purchased by preference on account of their availability through the site (for example, Liverpool supporters who wish to travel to foreign fixtures with fellow supporters are more likely to be able to do so by ordering fllights and accommodation through liverpooltf.tv than through leaving it to chance or lastminute.com. The football club can also rely upon a raft of trade mark registrations and extensive goodwill in fending off web pages with confusingly similar names.

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