- Premier League’s existing UK£4.8bn deal runs until end of 2024/25
- 200 games currently available for broadcast
- Assurances given that 3pm Saturday blackout will be protected
The tender process for the next cycle is expected to kick off later this year, potentially in October, and a ‘meatier’ package of matches is set to be made available to broadcasters. Potential bidders expect the number of available games to rise from 200 to at least 260 of the total 380 fixtures each season.
The Telegraph adds that the overall number of options will be trimmed down from seven ‘packs’ and only four could be on the table in order to increase the price of each individual package.
There have also reportedly been assurances that the Saturday 3pm TV blackout in the UK will be protected. Premier League chief executive Richard Masters stated last month that the top flight had no plans to push for the rule to be axed.
The league’s current domestic rights contracts see Sky hold four sets of rights, equating to 128 matches per season. BT Sport, which is rebranding as TNT Sports from July, has two packages covering Saturday 12.30pm kick offs and midweek rounds. Amazon’s single package sees its Prime Video service stream one set of Bank Holiday Christmas fixtures and a set of midweek fixtures.
The purported move from the Premier League to shakeup the bidding process comes as the top flight enters the unknown from a rights valuation standpoint.
Domestic rights have remained largely flat since 2016 and clubs agreed to roll over the existing agreement to ensure financial stability during the pandemic. Making more matches available and having fewer options will aim to break the plateau.
Reducing the number of packages, though, may make it harder for incumbent rights holders to retain their slate of matches. In Amazon’s case, for example, it could have to fork out more for a bigger share of games.
Sky and BT are expected to remain major bidders. Apple and DAZN have also been linked. The Premier League will, of course, welcome the added competition as it looks for domestic rights to mirror the success of the overseas market, which is now worth north of UK£5 billion (US$6.2 billion). NBC’s six-year contract, signed in 2021, is worth around US$2.7 billion alone.