Premier League rights packages and the battle for them
The success of the Premier League can almost entirely be put at the door of it’s incredibly lucrative TV deals. Both foreign and domestic. Rupert Murdoch may be in the press for different reasons of late, but his idea that football was the perfect launching pad to sell satellite television was the brainwave that built BSkyB.
And consequently put him in some of the hot water he’s in now. One of the reasons he sought so much influence over government was his desire to take full control of the business that was the jewell in News Corp’s British crown; Sky.
So the news that the Premier League has issued an invitation to bid for the domestic broadcast rights for the 2013-14 to 2015-16 football seasons is more important to the league than who wins the title over the next two games.
There are some very significant changes in the new deal the Premier League is offering. 154 matches will now be broadcast a season, that is 16 more than previously, and 40% of all Premier League games.
The latest deal continues the trend of more games being moved away from the traditional 15:00 kickoff, either due to Europa League involvement or the advice of police.
The 154 Premier League games available for domestic broadcast will be split into seven new packages. Five packages of 26 matches and two packages of 12 games. No one broadcaster is permitted to purchase more than five packages, or 116 games.
The Premier League is such an essential part of Sky’s business model that it will surprise no one if they retain the maximum available matches.
ESPN, the so called World Wide Leader in Sports, is one of the most successful broadcasting businesses of the last 30 years - in America. It has only managed to build a presence in the UK market on the back of it’s Premier League package. Expect them to bid for at least the same number of games they currently broadcast, probably more.
A new name has been widely reported to be in the mix for rights packages: Al Jazeera. The satellite channel has the backing, it is owned by the state of Qatar, to bid for hugely expensive rights packages like these. And is looking to broaden it’s audience.
As an interesting aside it could be seen as part a global marketing campaign by the Qatari government, which after all was the successful bidder for the 2022 World Cup; and has cash to burn.
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