Sky and BT Vision will carry English Premiership football matches for the next three years, in deals worth more than £1billion per season.
Sky bid £2.3bn for the lion’s share of Premiership coverage from 2013 to 2016: 116 matches per year, including its flagship Super Sunday and Monday Night Football slots.
BT Vision ousted Disney-backed ESPN to win the rump packages of 32 games, with first choice of 18 games per season.
The £3.018bn deals cost Sky and BT 71 per cent more than the current three-year English Premier League contracts, and mark a record price since the league was created 20 years ago.
BT’s football Vision
BT promised to launch a new ‘football-focused’ channel, which will be available to other platforms like Virgin and Sky.
BT fibre-optic broadband subscribers on BT Infinity will have access to exclusive interactive features.
Of the 32 BT-shown games, 28 kick off on Saturdays at 12.45pm, and 10 on midweek evenings and Bank Holidays.
Ian Livingston, Chief Executive, said: “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.”
Sky’s premier choices
The Premiership deal is the backbone of Sky Sports, completing a schedule with Football League, UEFA Champions League, Formula One and England’s domestic and international cricket.
Sky’s rights include cable, mobile, online and broadband delivery, as well as satellite, and it will have to make Sky Sports 1 and 2 available wholesale to other broadcasters in standard definition.
It also promised to continue showing matches through Sky Go on PCs, laptops, smartphones, tablets and games consoles, and to include it in the new internet TV service, NOW TV, which launches later this year.
Sky’s deal includes 38 games per year with Saturday evening 5.30pm kick-offs, 26 on Sundays at 1.30pm and 26 at 4pm (the Super Sunday packages), and 26 on Mondays at 8.30pm.
Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports, said: “The Premier League has never been more popular with our customers so it’s excellent news that Sky Sports viewers will continue to enjoy the biggest and best games, including Super Sunday and Monday Night Football.”
Jeremy Darroch, Sky’s chief executive, added: “We have never offered greater depth and breadth of coverage on Sky Sports, with unprecedented live action right across the schedule.
“At the same time we’re pushing ahead with more original British content, extending our leadership as the UK’s favourite triple play provider, and launching our new internet TV service, NOW TV, which will give us even more ways to distribute our content.”
The Premiership football carve-up
Premiership football coverage in the UK is divided into six packages under an agreement with EU competition regulators designed to prevent one company dominating British pay-TV sports rights.
Bids are made in secret and a single broadcaster – so far always Sky – is allowed to own up to four of the packages.
The first Premiership football deal was exclusive to Sky and cost £304m over five years – 16 times less per season than the latest contracts.
Saturday afternoon matches at 3pm are not available live to UK broadcasters, although they do appear in delayed-coverage and highlights packages. This is designed to protect attendance at matches.