Cash bonanza on cards as Premier League rights talks reach deadlock

DetailsEditor | 07 February 2015

Four rather huge TV money trucks seem to be battling to back up towards the English Premier League (EPL) as the first round of bids for the next UK rights are reported to have reached deadlock.

premier league winter ballRights to the English Premier League are the Crown Jewels of UK pay-TV and in June 2012 the EPL sold the rights for seven TV packages for the 2013/14 to 2015/16 football seasons for an overall value of £3.018 billion. The rights issue saw Sky secure a package comprising 116 matches and UK telco BT enter the fray, grabbing 38 live games.
At the time the deal represented an increase of £1.25 billion on the previous broadcast settlement, which shared rights between the then BSkyB and ESPN. At present as well as currently holding over three-quarters of live rights to Premier League football, Sky has more than four-fifths of market revenues from the supply of key sports channels. BT currently holds around 25% of live Premier League rights, generating between 10% and 20% of revenues.

Bids and bidders are confidential until the process has ended but he new deal for the three seasons beginning on the 2016/2017 seasons threatens to eclipse the unprecedented sums registered last time with some analysts predicting that the rights will be worth up as much as £4.5 billion to the EPL with Skyís and BTís new bids challenged by Discovery and, most worryingly for the incumbents, Al Jazeera.

It is this four-way heavyweight battle that is said to be delaying the process that will now run into a second round, driving sums up further.

The new rights include a total of 168 matches split into seven packages including a free-to-air highlights package; live rights consisting of five packages of 28 matches and two packages of 14 matches with no single buyer allowed to acquire more than 126 matches; a near-live long-form package containing 212 matches, for linear and on-demand exploitation; an Internet-based clips package for all matches. Both the live and near-live packages will be available for exploitation on a technology-neutral basis.