Premier League rights sold to BT and BSkyB for £3bn

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore described the £3bn deal as a "decent commercial increase" - Pictures courtesy of the Premier League

BT has secured the rights to broadcast live Premier League games for the first time, securing the rights to 38 matches a season from 2013-14 to 2015-16.

BSkyB will continue to show the bulk of games, securing the rights to 116 games per season, the Premier League said.

The total of 154 live matches is 16 more than currently broadcast and more than 40% of all top-level matches.

The sales raised £3.018bn, an increase of £1.25bn on the current package which shares rights between BSkyB and ESPN.

BBC sports news correspondent James Pearce said the amount paid for the new deal was "staggering", marking a rise of 70% on the present deal, worth £1.773bn.

BT is paying £246m per season for its broadcast rights, while BSkyB is paying £760m a year.

'New ways'

BT said it would launch a new football-focused channel to carry the games.

"It will offer new interactive features when supplied over BT's fibre network and we will look to distribute it on other platforms," the telecoms firm said.

Analysis

BSkyB keeps its stranglehold on Premier League football but the rise in the price is staggering. Recession? What recession? Even the Premier League's chief executive admitted he had been slightly taken aback by the vast sums being paid for live coverage of the sport.

The surprise was the arrival of BT as a major player on the football broadcasting market, winning the rights to show 38 matches and replacing ESPN. A spokesman for BT said that it would negotiate to appear on as many different platforms as possible. It was competition from new bidders like this which pushed the price of rights so high.

So Premier League clubs are set for a windfall. Players will no doubt reap the rewards as well. The concern from fans will be over who's going to fund this dramatic rise in rights fees. Supporters will fear that it will be them through increased subscriptions.

BT said full details and pricing would be published in due course

"We welcome BT as a new Premier League broadcast partner," said Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore.

"They are a substantial British company that is at the leading edge of technology and infrastructure development."

He said BT would "deliver new ways in which fans will be able to follow the competition".

He added: "The continuing support of BSkyB for Premier League football is significant beyond the revenues delivered; the longevity and quality of their commitment has done much for the English game as a whole."

Under the new agreement, BT secured two of the seven packages on offer, showing 28 Saturday lunchtime games, including the opening game of the season, and 10 matches taking place on bank holidays or midweek evenings.

'Competitive process'

BSkyB, which was the Premier League's original broadcaster on its launch in 1992, said it would cover every club at least four times a season.

Liverpool v Norwich The new rights deal covers the 2013-14 to 2015-16 seasons

"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," said BSkyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch.

"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.

"As a result, we remain confident of delivering our financial plans, in line with our expectations, unchanged, in each year of the new deal."

'Strong bid'

One of the surprises of the bidding results was the fact that US-based sports broadcaster ESPN had lost its package of live TV rights.

The demise of Irish broadcaster Setanta's UK operations in 2009 had allowed ESPN to move into the English top-flight football market.

Its current deal runs out at the end of the 2012-13 season.

Mr Scudamore praised ESPN for its involvement and said he believed the group would be back at the bidding table the next time the rights were up for auction.

"We made a strong bid that reflected the value of the rights to our business, and we thank the Premier League for the chance to participate," said an ESPN spokesman.

"We're looking forward to continuing our Premier League coverage next season, and continuing to serve fans with great live sports events and programming including the FA Cup, Europa League, Scottish Premier League, Serie A, Premiership Rugby, Top 14, golf, darts, UFC, NBA and much more."

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