Premier League in record £5.14bn TV rights deal

Image source, Getty Images

The Premier League has sold television rights to its games for a record £5.136bn, 71% above last time.

Sky paid £4.2bn for five of the seven TV packages while rival BT paid £960m for the other two in the record TV rights auction. The deal will run for three years from 2016.

Sky paid 83% more than it did in the last round three years ago.

BT paid 18% more and has increased the number of live matches it will show from 38 to 42 a year.

Shares in Manchester United, quoted in New York, jumped 5% as investors welcomed the prospect of the higher revenue.

The last TV rights auction in 2012 was also won by Sky and BT.

BT will pay £320m per season, against £246m per season at present. The communications giant said that equated to £7.6m per game.

Sky, meanwhile, said it will pay £1.392bn per year, or £11.07m per match, for the right to broadcast 126 live matches, 10 more than currently. and the maximum Sky was allowed to bid for under the auction rules.

It means Sky will pay £4.1bn of the total £5.136bn deal. The Premier League TV rights auction had been expected to raise as much as £4.4bn.

Premier League TV rights


Cost of rights 2016-19


Increase on 2013-16

  • £10.19m per game

  • 168 games to be shown live

  • 126 will be shown by Sky

  • 42 will be shown by BT


Sky admitted the amount it paid for the TV rights was about £330m more than analysts had forecast.

The results of the auction means it will cost the two broadcasters an average of £10.19m per game to show a single Premier League match.

'Good causes'

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said the money raised from the auction would be invested by clubs in making improvements to stadiums as well as "youth development and good causes" and said clubs would continue to "put on the best matches that they can".

The Premier League plans to invest £56m in grassroots projects, including 50 artificial pitches.

Image source, BBC Sport

Mr Scudamore added clubs should address ticket prices to ensure stadiums are full.

In 2012, Sky and BT paid £3bn, using live football not only as a way to encourage new customers to pay for their services but to defend other parts of their empire, particularly the sale of broadband packages.

The bidding process has pushed up the price for the right to broadcast Premier League matches substantially in recent years.

The results of the latest auction sees BT and Sky pay more than double the £1.77bn paid for the right to broadcast Premier League matches in 2011.

Tom Mockridge, Virgin Media's chief executive, said the auction process was a licence for the Premier League to "print money" and was "hurting fans".

He added: "You can't blame the Premier League - they are simply exploiting the sales process. But this is hurting fans and does not warrant an exemption from normal competition law rules.

"There are other and better ways to structure the auction - selling more games gives more value for money and selling non-exclusively to broadcasters would take some of the heat out of auction process."

Ofcom is currently investigating whether there is enough competition in the way in which the broadcast rights to Premier League matches are sold, following a complaint by Virgin Media in November. It will publish its initial findings in March.

Last week Virgin asked Ofcom to halt the auction process until the regulator had completed its initial investigation but the application was refused.