Full rounds of Premier League games to be shown live for first time
Eight 2019 season games will be shown on Saturday night under multibillion euro deal
The tender document for the 2019-2022 seasons was issued to broadcasters by the Premier League on Thursday and indicates an increase of 42 games on live TV, with 200 of 380 fixtures a season available. Photograph: Getty Images
Full rounds of Premier League matches will be shown on live TV for the first time with Saturday night prime time games directly rivalling X-Factor and Strictly Come Dancing.
The tender document for the 2019-2022 seasons was issued to broadcasters by the Premier League on Thursday and indicates an increase of 42 games on live TV, with 200 of 380 fixtures a season available.
In the 2019 season, there will be eight games shown live at 7.45pm on a Saturday night for the first time, going up against prime time entertainment television for audience share. The existing rights are split between Sky Sports and BT Sport and cost £5.18 billion (€5.9 billion) but with lucrative Saturday evening games and 20 bank holiday matches that already gargantuan figure will surely increase.
The 200 games have been organised into seven packages for broadcasters to be bid for, organised from A to G.
Packages A and B each contain 32 matches at Saturday 12.30pm and 5.30pm, respectively; C contains 24 games at Sunday 2pm and eight at Saturday 7.45pm; D contains 32 matches at Sunday 4.30pm; and E contains 24 matches at Monday 8pm or Friday 7.30pm-8pm and eight at Sunday 2pm.
Package F contains all 20 games from one bank holiday and one midweek programme, with Package G containing all 20 from two midweek programmes. At its quarterly shareholders’ meeting the league agreed to make at least half of their games available following an investigation by Ofcom into how it sells its television rights. But at a Premier League supporters’ meeting in October the organisation’s chief executive Richard Scudamore ruled out Sunday morning matches.
The minutes of that meeting also suggest there would be no immediate move from broadcasters to screen Saturday evening matches, but the situation has clearly altered in the intervening period. In what appears to be a come-and-get-me plea to internet giants the Premier League documents states: “The Live packages will be available for exploitation on a technology-neutral basis.”
With the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, worth more than £70 billion (€79.7 billion) and Netflix and Apple also considering moving into live sports broadcasting, the Premier League is aware they could be big bidders. Amazon have already moved into live sport broadcasting, winning the rights to the ATP Tour tennis earlier this year. However it is thought this tender process may have come too soon for the internet giants with Netflix apparently ruling themselves out of the race.