Sky and BT pay UK£3.018bn for EPL rights

BSkyB have secured five packages of domestic Premier League rights, with BT surprisingly taking the two other set of live rights on offer.

Sky and BT pay UK£3.018bn for EPL rights

BSkyB have secured five packages of domestic Premier League rights, with BT surprisingly taking the two other sets of live rights on offer.

The total rights revenues was announced as UK£3.018 billion by the Premier League, a massive uplift of some 70 per cent on the previous UK£1.78 billion TV rights deal.

The figure is hugely impressive, despite 40 more games being on offer in this cycle, and means significantly more revenue for all Premier League clubs even before international rights deals, which are expected to be lucrative in their own right, are concluded.

Wednesday’s announcement means ESPN will no longer broadcast Premier League games in the UK beyond next season and that Al Jazeera, widely tipped as a contender, has failed to secure any rights for the 2013 to 2016 period. It was unclear immediately if the Qatari broadcaster even made a bid, with the entire process being carried out confidentially and no leaks emerging before the announcement.

BT, which will likely launch a new sports channel to broadcast games, has won the rights to 38 live games including Saturday lunchtime kick-offs, a slot often featuring high profile games at the request of police and to cater for the Premier League’s Asian audience. It will also broadcast bank holiday and midweek games. The company will pay UK£246 million per season for its packages.

BSkyB, meanwhile, has committed UK£760 million per year for the rights to 116 live games and will continue as the major television partner of the Premier League, a relationship that stretches back to the formation of the league 20 years ago.

It has won the rights to Saturday evening games, two packages of live Sunday matches and Monday evening fixtures meaning the continuation of its established ‘Super Sunday’ and ‘Monday Night Football’ brands.

The Premier League had released an Invitation to Tender (ITT) at the start of May for the domestic rights for three seasons spanning 2013 to 2016.

It invited bids from broadcasters for the live rights to a record total of 154 matches per season – 40 per cent of the total number of top flight fixtures - split into seven packages.

Five of the packages consist of 26 matches each, while two include 12 matches, with no single buyer allowed to acquire more than 116 matches.

According to an official Premier League statement, the composition of the new tender offers “a more attractive and compelling offering for both broadcasters and fans; whilst allowing the continued protection of the Saturday 3pm 'closed window' and minimising further displacement of Premier League fixtures.”

Under the terms of the current three-year agreement, which runs until the end of next season, BSkyB broadcasts 115 live matches per season, having won five of six packages tendered in the previous auction. ESPN snapped up the sixth package and therefore currently shows 23 games per season.

In May the BBC retained its Premier League highlights package until the end of the 2015/16 season in a deal worth UK£179.7 million (US$281.7 million), a 4.5 per cent increase on the previous equivalent agreement.