English Premier League 2016/2019 TV Rights up for sale
Friday the 6th February 2015 is the biggest day of the season for the Premier League as all the bids for the multi-billion television rights from 2016/2019 will be opened. Sky and BT are amongst the favourites in the high-stakes bidding auction which is expected to easily beat the current £5.5bn deal, The competition is expected to be so fierce that there will be no outright winner from the first round of bidding and the process will carry on into next week.The one certainty is that the Premier League will be the ultimate winner and by extension so will the 20 clubs, their players, their agents and so on and so forth.Some believe that Discovery, the US broadcaster owned by Rupert Murdoch’s sometime rival John Malone, could enter the fray after acquiring Eurosport and may squeeze out BT. Others raise the prospect of Qatar-owned BeInSport, which has invested billions around the globe in recent years, making a dramatic entry into the UK market.
It is difficult to remember those days pre-Premier League era, when just 14 top-flight football matches were aired live on television each season. In 1990 the BBC and ITV paid £3.2m a year whilst in their current deal, for 154 live matches per season, BT and Sky pay out over £1bn a year.Analysts at UBS this week predicted another 45% rise in the value of the rights, to £4.38bn over three years, with Sky paying £3.3bn to retain a majority for the three seasons from 2016/17.Since paying £738m for the rights to 38 matches per season to become the junior partner to Sky Sports, which paid £2.3bn for 116 games, BT has won FA Cup rights and spent a further £897m on exclusive live Champions League rights from next season.That boosted BT’s chances of succeeding where ITV Digital, Setanta and ESPN have failed in challenging Sky’s dominance. It must retain enough Premier League matches to support a subscription service in which it plans to house its Champions League rights.A strategic battle has been raging for months behind the scenes at BT’s headquarters with some in favour of an attempt to take on Sky for the majority of the games, but others urge caution, pointing to the money already invested in other rights and preferring to continue to use BT Sport to attract and retain broadband customers.
The Premier League auction process has changed over time and this time there are slightly more games on offer,168, compared to 154, and they are split across seven packages offering a variety of kick-off times and “first pick” opportunities. Each of the packages must be bid on separately and no single buyer can win more than 126 of the 168 matches on offer and for the first time in the Premier League era, up to 10 Friday night matches will be included.
A top football prediction can declare with certainty that the English Premier League will be a great deal richer no matter who wins what, so that can’t be bad right?