BT, Sky smash 5BN barrier for latest Premier League football rights

DetailsJoseph O'Halloran | 10 February 2015

At the end of the day fthe winners in the battle for TV rights for English Premier League were Sky and BT2 but the two firms have paid an unprecedented 5.136 billion for the seven live TV packages over the three seasons beginning 2016/17.

SKysportsTVrightsJThe EPL awarded seven packages five of 28 matches and two of 14 matches totalling 168 matches with Sky securing packages A, C, D, E, and G totalling 126 matches while BT has secured packages B and F totalling 42 matches. Sky will pay 1,392 million per annum for each of the three years of the new agreement, representing an 83% increase over the cost of the existing contract.

Yet whilst Sky and BT scooping the biggest prize in UK pay-TV is no big surprise what has staggered analysts and industry insiders alike is the sheer scale of the new deal which represents a combined 70% increase on the previous amount. Many had expected competition from Al Jazeera and Discovery to push up bids but only to around the 4.5 billion mark at most.

Commenting on the deal, a clearly delighted Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore, said: "Premier League clubs deliver competitive and compelling football to fans in stadiums and on television, driving interest levels to new heights...Both Sky Sports and BT Sport have done a tremendous job in bringing the game to the fans as well as providing the revenue that allows clubs to invest in football, facilities, youth development and their communities...We are grateful for the continued belief that Sky Sports and BT Sport have in the Premier League and our clubs, both as a sporting competition and organisations to work with."

John Petter, BT Consumer CEO added: "I am pleased we will be showing Premier League football for a further three years and that we have secured the prime Saturday evening slot. These new rights will enhance our existing schedule of football, rugby and other international sport, including all the live footballing action from the UEFA Champions and Europa Leagues starting this summer." Concurring, Managing Director of Sky Sport Barney Francis remarked:"We are looking forward to bringing even more live Premier League football to viewers. Only Sky Sports will have the best match picks and the best slots so our viewers will be able to follow the biggest matches, the key head to heads and every club at least four times. No other broadcaster comes close."

But the cash bonanza has in truth not been met with universal acclaim inside both the world's of football and TV. Football fans' groups have worried about he lack of direct commitment for grassroots football and the inedible prince increase in TV packages. Tom Mockridge, CEO of Virgin Media which has been critical of the new bids, indeed going as far as asking UK regulator Occam, to suspend the new process told The UK's Daily Telegraph: "A 70% increase shows the TV rights auction is a license for the Premier League to print money. You can't blame the Premier League they are simply exploiting the sales process. But this is hurting fans and does not warrant an exemption from normal competition law rules. There are other and better ways to structure the auction selling more games gives more value for money and selling non-exclusively to broadcasters would take some of the heat out of auction process."