The collapse of satellite station Setanta sent shockwaves across sport, with significant shortfalls in income predicted.

However, the Premier League were fastest off the mark, with Disney-owned ESPN leaping in to buy the games Setanta could no longer show at virtually the same price.

Others have not been so lucky, with the Old Firm desperately unhappy at the deal thrashed out between the Scottish Premier League, ESPN and Sky, with the two broadcasters entering into a joint contract to screen 60 games a season for £65million over five years, barely half the sum Setanta were pledged to pay for just four seasons.

At one point, it was thought Celtic and Rangers would put in a combined bid in excess of the sum now being received in the belief they could claw the money back through subscribers to their own channel.

Gill understands the reasoning, but he doubts such a move would ever be made in England given the vast sums current TV contracts generate.

"I don't see what the Old Firm were proposing happening in England," he said.

"Each club in England gets more than their entire rights.

"Collective selling is a strength of the Premier League. Sky have been a great partner for the Premier League. They package it well and sell it well. That experience has been very positive.

"ESPN are now involved, which is positive, and the rights have been sold until 2014."

As part of the Premier League's management team, Gill met with ESPN executives a number of months ago and was impressed by what he heard.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore was of a similar mind and maintained contact, a decision which has proved to be a wise one.

"It was clear they were looking at the rights and the opportunity they offered," said Gill.

"They knew all about our product and the benefits it offered. Richard Scudamore maintained that contact and did a good job."

The introduction of ESPN into the pay-TV market means a renewed commitment to the collective bargaining agreements which have been a cornerstone of the Premier League, setting it apart from La Liga in Spain, where clubs are free to negotiate their own contracts.

United are aware their global popularity leaves them sitting on a goldmine given their in-house MUTV channel is the most advanced of any in England.

However, Gill does not see the station developing that way and doubts whether any similar channel could either.

"MUTV is a successful in-house TV channel that makes money," he said.

"Depending on the time of year, you can have anything between 80 and 100,000 subscribers and it sells to many countries overseas through TWI, whose rights are up next summer.

"It will never get huge numbers of people without the rights and we will never have them.

"What we have done are little things like pulling the advertising slots back so we can offer to our partners.

"It is not going to help buy a star player but it is a very important part of our future and I am content with where it is.

"Yes we would like it to have 300,000 but that is not going to happen - and if MUTV can't, no-one else can."