Sports

Premier League Awards Sky, BT TV Rights For GBP4.464 Billion

Premier League Awards Sky, BT TV Rights For GBP4.464 Billion

Both BT and Sky UK (Sky Broadband) will continue to spend big on their respective UK Pay TV platforms after tonight reaching a £4.464bn deal, which will allow them to show Premier League Football matches for a further 3 years from the 2019/20 season onwards.

BT Sport bought the rights for GBP 295 million per season, and said it was in talks with the Premier League regarding the remaining rights.

Sky will now air 128 games a season, up from 126 matches currently and it now has the first pick game every weekend plus Saturday evening fixtures for the first time, all screened on Sky's dedicated Premier League channel.

"Not only do we remain the home of Premier League football but also the home of top quality drama, entertainment, comedy and other sports", Stephen van Rooyen, Sky's United Kingdom chief executive, said in a statement after Tuesday's auction.

Interestingly, despite the huge sums on offer, the amount that Sky and BT are paying has fallen from the £5.14bn in 2015 to £4.46bn in the latest set of rights.

What is not known is whether the Australian rights which are now held by Optus, will return to Foxtel.

He added: "'Not only do we remain the home of Premier League football but also the home of top quality drama, entertainment, comedy and other sports", he said.

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Inconsistent viewing patterns for sport in recent years - including a decline for the Premier League in the United Kingdom over the 2016/2017 season - have also spurred questions about the value of the rights.

Amazon were reportedly interested in the Saturday lunchtime slot.

"I don't think that those two packages by themselves are going to bridge the gap between what the domestic rights were sold for last time and what they're going for this time", said Dan Jones, head of the sports business group at the accountancy firm Deloitte. Compare that to the £53ish-million the last place finisher in La Liga got previous year and you can see how bloated the Premier League has become. The absence of a strong showing from the digital players and a content-sharing agreement between Sky and BT signed in December may have contributed to the restrained bidding.

The company has committed to paying £885m in total, £295m a year, for 10 fewer matches, 32 in total, all kicking off at 12:30pm on Saturdays.

Despite the fall in total take for the Premier League, Mr Jones said the deal "will still leave the Premier League as the richest league in the world by a margin".

In a company statement, Sky UK chief executive Stephen van Rooyen highlighted the "disciplined approach" to investing in premium content, while the managing director of Sky Sports, Barney Francis, said its customers "will continue to enjoy unrivalled Premier League coverage through to 2022".


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