In a shock result for English Premier League TV rights, BT has outbid Disney owned sports broadcaster ESPN to pick up the rights for 38 Premier League games whilst satellite broadcaster Sky retained its dominance of the Premier League by snapping up the remaining 116 games.
The latest bidding rights for the lucrative English Premier League saw a total of 154 Premier League games for 3 seasons from 2013 to 2016, which is an increase of 16 on the previous bidding rights.
Sky eventually picked up 116 games over 5 packs for the total sum of £760m per year in comparison to the £541m that they paid that the last time the bidding rights for the Premier League were put up. This means that Sky will pay £6.6m per game.
However the biggest surprise in the bidding of the Premier League rights is the emergence of BT after it picked up 2 of the packs totalling 38 games. BT has agreed to pay £246m for the rights and changes its position from a digital television service provider into a broadcaster.
Despite reports that Al Jazeera would be the main rival to Sky, it was believed that a bid was never forthcoming from the Qatari based news broadcaster, and the new rights also cast doubt over the long term future of ESPN after it ceases to show Premier League football following this season.
It is also believed that BT will start to leverage these rights to become a serious competitor to Sky in the longer term.
BT has said that it will launch a brand new “football focused channel”, and will offer interactive features over its fibre broadband network. The digital television provider has said that it will publish details in due course, but it is thought that BT will open up access to rival service providers such as Sky and Virgin Media.
BT Chief Executive Ian Livingstone said “We are pleased to have won these rights and to have secured around half of the best games on offer each season. We look forward to offering football fans real value and great quality using the latest technology,”
“BT is already investing £2.5bn in fibre broadband. Securing Premier League rights fits naturally with this, as consumers increasingly want to buy their broadband and entertainment services from a single provider.”
Sky’s Jeremy Darroch added “In what was a very competitive tender process, we are pleased to have secured the combination of rights that we wanted, providing certainty for us and our customers,”
“Whilst the cost is higher, we have capacity for this increase through the combination of excellent work on cost efficiency across the business and choices over other future spending.”
Overall the Premier League has sold its rights for £3bn.
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