11 Feb 2015

Premier League TV rights sold for staggering sum

7:27 am on 11 February 2015

Broadcasters Sky and BT have won the British television rights to broadcast English Premier League football games in 2016-2019 for a record 10.5 billion dollars.

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney in action.

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney in action. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Today's decision comes after a ferocious bidding war that has seen BT muscle in on what had been Sky's territory and has included reported bids from America's Discovery Network and Qatar's beIN Sports.

Sky won five of the seven packages to maintain a majority share of live broadcast rights with BT retaining the other two.

The Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said the deal meant "money will continue to be invested in putting on the best show and new stadiums and heavily in youth."

"Clubs are very aware that part of our product is keeping the stadia full," he added.

Crucially, Sky managed to keep hold of the bumper Sunday lunchtime (Monday NZ time) slot, but at a cost.

"Sky had the most to risk with this TV deal and has been forced to pay over the odds to secure prime packages including the Sunday lunchtime kick offs, which typically attracts the highest viewing audience," said Joshuya Raymond from analysts CityIndex.

"I expect Sky shareholders to react warmly to this latest victory but in the medium term, there has to be a deeper concern on the spiralling prices paid by broadcasters."

When the rights were last up for grabs in 2012, Sky won five of the seven lots at a cost of 4.7 billion and currently broadcasts 116 of the 154 matches shown live per season in the United Kingdom.

Telecommunications firm BT secured the rights to 38 games per season for 1.5 billion dollars, helping to arrest the company's decline in the era of the mobile phone.

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