BT Pinch Premier League Rights From ESPN
In a major shakeup to domestic Premier League rights BT has outbid ESPN for the right to broadcast one of the seven available Premier League packages. Sky retains the right to broadcast 116 games a season.
The deal is a massive windfall for the league. The total domestic rights alone amount to £3.018bn, a considerable£1.25bn increase on the previous 3-year agreement.
BT secured the rights to 38 games a season for £246m a year. Crucially BT have first choice on 18, nearly half, of their games. BT will launch a dedicated football channel on their BT Vision service. Most of BT’s games will be broadcast Saturday at noon with ten mid-week games included in the package.
"For the first time consumers have a real choice of provider when it comes to watching the best games," read BT’s official statement. "We have secured access to 38 live games, including the opening game of the season, which represents a quarter of the 154 matches to be shown each season."
"We are pleased to have won these rights and to have secured around half of the best games on offer each season. We look forward to offering football fans real value and great quality using the latest technology."
"BT is already investing £2.5bn in fibre broadband. Securing Premier League rights fits naturally with this, as consumers increasingly want to buy their broadband and entertainment services from a single provider."
BT’s bid comes as a real blow to ESPN who were building a name in the crowded British sports market with their package of 23 games. They will not be able to broadcast a Premier League game until 2016 at the earliest.
ESPN statement, “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.
“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.”
ESPN are putting a brave face on BT’s successful bid it is clear this could have a devastating effect on their British business.
Sky have maintained their near monopoly over the Premier League with 116 games including 20 first pick games. Sky’s games will be broadcast on Sundays at 4pm as part of their Super Sunday brand.
They have retained the rights to Monday Premier League games. This was important to Sky after the investment into the MNF brand, which was a big hit this season with Gary Neville receiving plaudits in his first season as a pundit. Sky will pay £760 million per year for the duration of the contract.
Premier League statement, “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. We are very happy to see this relationship maintained for another three seasons.
“We welcome BT as a new Premier League broadcast partner. They are a substantial British company that is at the leading edge of technology and infra-structure development. They are clearly investing in quality content to use on their platforms and when combined with the reach and pull of Premier League football they will deliver new ways in which fans will be able to follow the competition.”
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