Table: Recent key broadcast rights deals
English soccer’s Premier League will benefit from a massive 70-per-cent increase in the value of its live rights in the UK from the 2013-14 season onwards after securing a combined fee of £3.018 billion from new three-year deals announced in June.
British Sky Broadcasting, the News Corporation-controlled pay-television broadcaster, retained a large share of the live matches, while BT, the telecoms giant, was awarded live rights to the league for the first time, displacing current rights-holder ESPN, another pay-television operator.
BSkyB won rights to broadcast 116 of the 154 live games available in each season as it picked up five of the seven packages, while BT secured the other two. BSkyB will continue to show prominent matches on Sunday afternoons and Monday evenings as part of its extensive offering, which will cost the broadcaster £760 million a year, or £6.55 million per game.
BT agreed to pay £246 million a year for 38 live matches in each season, including high-profile Saturday lunchtime fixtures, as well as a selection of midweek games, equating to £6.47 million per game. It plans to launch a new sports channel to carry its matches.
Five packages of 26 matches and two packages of 12 matches were on offer in the latest rights tender. This compares with six packages of 23 matches in the previous tender, covering three seasons from 2010-11 to 2012-13, when a total of £1.773 billion was raised.
In addition to BSkyB and BT, ESPN, Al Jazeera, the Qatarbased broadcaster, and UK free-to-air broadcasters were thought to have participated in this year’s auction, which went to a second round of bidding after none of the competing media companies were successful in the first round.
No single buyer was allowed to acquire more than 116 matches in order to create “a more attractive and compelling offering for both broadcasters and fans,” the Premier League said.
BSkyB and ESPN presently broadcast a total of 138 live matches per season, of which ESPN’s share is 23, rights which are costing it £150 million over three years. The loss of Premier League coverage will be a major blow to ESPN, which launched its live sports channel in the UK in 2009 on the strength of its acquisition of rights.
The Premier League has generated £179.7 million from a new highlights rights deal with the BBC, the UK’s public-service broadcaster, from 2013-14 to 2015-16, in an agreement that represents an increase in value of just under 4 per cent on the current three-year contract.