It’s game day for the battle for the UK rights to Premier League soccer as Sky and BT have both retained a number of packages. However, the auction is still ongoing with two of the seven packages still yet to be decided, leaving open the possibility of a bid from one of the digital giants such as Amazon. Multiple bidders are understood to still be in the process.
Telco BT has won one package of games, while Sky has so far signed up four of the seven packages, meaning that the 21st Century Fox-backed broadcaster will show more games than ever before in the three years from 2019.
Sky will now air 128 games a season, up from 126 matches currently and it now has the first pick game every weekend plus Saturday evening fixtures for the first time, all screened on Sky’s dedicated Premier League channel.
The value of the rights so far sold is £4.5BN ($6.2BN) with two packages to go, meaning that it is likely to outstrip the previous deal, which came in at £5.1BN (US$7.1BN), but there has not been the inflation that was somewhat expected.
Stephen van Rooyen, Sky’s UK Chief Executive, said: “We continue to invest in content that our customers value and which complements our strategy to broaden our offer. Not only do we remain the home of Premier League football but also the home of top quality drama, entertainment, comedy and other sports. Our disciplined approach means we continue to have the flexibility to invest in each of these areas as we choose, underlining our position as Europe’s largest investor in content.”
BT will air games on Saturday lunchtimes from August 2019 and the company said that it “remained financially disciplined during this process”.
Marc Allera, Chief Executive of BT’s Consumer division, said: “The Premier League is undoubtedly the most competitive and exciting domestic league in the world, so we’re delighted that our customers will be able to continue enjoying Saturday games on BT Sport.
“BT Sport is enjoyed by over five million households and pubs and clubs across the UK. We are excited about the opportunity to bring this great content to even more TV and mobile customers as we pursue our strategy of being the best provider of converged network services in the UK.”