England’s Premier League has sold its latest round of soccer TV rights for a record-breaking $7.8 billion (£5.136 billion) to Sky and BT, representing a 71% increase from its last rights auction, also won by Sky and BT. Sky paid $64 billion (£4.2 billion) for five of the seven TV packages while BT paid $1.46 billion (£960 million) for the other two. The deal will run for three years from 2016.

Premier-LeagueSky paid 83% more than it did in the last round three years ago, BT paid 18% more. It will, however, get to show four more live matches than its previous deal, increasing from 38 to 42 a year.

here had been strong rumors going into the latest auction that Qatar’s BeIN Sports, which has already entered the French sports rights market, and John Malone’s Discovery Communications were poised to make bids for the rights. The exponential increase in the eventual numbers would seem to indicate a hotly contested bidding process behind closed doors.

“The company will work hard to minimize the impact of higher rights costs on customers, with the majority of the funding coming through substantial additional savings to be delivered by efficiency plans,” said Sky in a statement.