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BT may go all-out for next round of Barclays Premier League rights

BT could attempt to take the majority of Barclays Premier League football games away from Sky in the next auction for the rights to show them on TV.

At present, BT holds the rights to 38 high profile Saturday lunchtime matches, but all other TV fixtures are shown through rival Sky.

European competition rules state that no single supplier can have rights to all matches, so even if BT wins the majority of games, some matches will still be shown on Sky.

Paul Scholes has been announced as one of BT Sport's newest football pundits
Paul Scholes has been announced as one of BT Sport’s football pundits

Gavin Patterson, BT’s chief executive, told the Financial Times: “We can go for same as today or potentially go up to bidding for everything. There is a range of options we can look at.

“It’s hard to believe that we’d be happy with none. At the same time we know what it’s worth to us and we are not going to go crazy.”

The last round of bidding saw most of the Premier League games sold to Sky for a majority share at £3bn and it’s thought the next auction, set to begin at the end of this year’s football season could substantially outstrip this amount.

Other players who may take part in the rush for Premier League TV rights from 2016 to 2018 include Al Jazeera, and Eurosport’s new owner Discovery. The Discovery group is part-owned by John Malone’s Liberty Media, which also controls Virgin Media.

BT surprised everyone in the last round of Premier League rights, and doubled-down by snatching up the entire UEFA Champions League from 2015 to 2019 for a record £900m.

John Petter, head of BT’s consumer division told The Daily Telegraph: “To some extent, whatever we do, it will be less risky than what we did the first time round.

“We had no other rights, no studio, no talent, and we had very little time. This time we’ve got five million customers and all the infrastructure in place, so that obviously helps.”

BT signed up both Paul Scholes and Jose Mourinho as pundits on the channel recently, in a further attempt to tease football fans away from Sky and to BT.

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