Sky renews Premiership rights

BSkyB has been re-awarded the TV rights for English Premiership soccer. However, Sky took absolutely no chances in regards to the rights auction, and submitted a similar knock-out bid well in excess of its rivals. BSkyB took, as expected, 4 out of the six available packages.

The four bundles won each contain 23 live matches a season. The Premier League declined to name the exact amount paid. This latest round covers three seasons-worth of games beginning in the 2010-2011 season. Sky paid £1.314bn for its current package of prime rights. The general consensus is that while Sky might well have paid more, it was not much more that the £1.3bn paid last time. The fees will work out at something like £7m per game.

The final two bundles have still to be auctioned, and Sky is permitted to bid for one other bundle, but not all 6. Other players widely mentioned as still being involved in the process include Ireland-based Setanta. Under the current agreement (2007-10), Setanta has rights to the two packages not held by Sky, and it is reported that Setanta again made a highly competitive bid for the same packages for 2010-13.

But it is far from clear as to whether Setanta's bid echoes the £392m paid for two packages last time around, nor whether Setanta had any rival bidders. Disney-owned ESPN is a possible bidder, either in a joint-bid with Setanta or in its own name.

The next round begins Thursday Feb 5. The Premiership says only that the results of the auction for the final two bundles will be announced “in due course”.