Extra competition drives up Premier League deal
Once again Premier League football has shown its extraordinary ability to defy financial gravity.
Its new three-year deal with Sky and BT is worth an astonishing £3bn - a 70% increase on the current contract which is due to expire next summer.
Much of the growth can be explained by the increase in live matches - up from 138 to 154.
But it's also down to extra competition in the marketplace. Sky remain the League's main media partner but the price of the rights was driven up by interest from other companies such as current partners ESPN and Al Jazeera.
The Premier League's success continues to grow. Photo: Getty
In the end Sky paid a premium to retain their grip on live football - paying £2.28bn for their 116 games. But BT also bid high - securing their 38 matches for £800m.
No wonder the League's chief executive Richard Scudamore seemed so pleased with himself as he announced the deal.
To put all this into some context Sky paid £304m for a five-year rights deal back when the League first started in 1992. Apart from a couple of deals where the numbers have remained largely flat, it has been on a steep upward curve ever since showing the unique importance and value of live top class football to drive media business models.
Remember the deal announced today is only for UK live rights and doesn't include the ever growing market for overseas rights which are likely to increase significantly from the current £1.4bn when it is renegotiated for the new 2013-2016 deal.
It's also worth noting that the Premier League's deal is now worth way more than the global TV rights for the World Cup and the London 2012 Olympics.
Exactly how BT will show the matches is unclear although they say they will be setting up a new football channel and will be making their games available to other TV platforms.
Sky will continue to show their games on Sundays, Saturdays at 5.30pm and Monday nights. BT will get Saturday 12.45pm kick-offs, midweeks and bank holidays.
The increase in the number of live matches will inevitably lead to more scheduling issues and more irritation for supporters who go to watch their team in person and are forever bemoaning the fact they come second to TV.
But today's deal is another reminder of the remarkable financial success story of the Premier League.
The challenge for England's top clubs - especially at a time of increasing financial regulation from Uefa - will be to try and stop the new windfall flowing straight out of the TV companies' bank accounts and into the pockets of the players.