Premier League announce three-year renewal of TV rights deal

Deal with Sky, BT and Amazon staves off fears of slump in value at an auction

 Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon Prime Video and BBC Sport have agreed a proposal to roll over their existing television deal with the Premier League for a further three years from 2022 to 2025, the league has announced. File photograph: Carl Recine/PA

Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon Prime Video and BBC Sport have agreed a proposal to roll over their existing television deal with the Premier League for a further three years from 2022 to 2025, the league has announced. File photograph: Carl Recine/PA

 

The Premier League has announced it has renewed a £4.8bn (over €5.5bn) TV rights deal with its existing partners Sky, BT and Amazon, avoiding an auction that could have led to hundreds of millions being wiped off the value of the next deal.

The league has been in talks for months with its existing UK broadcast partners and the UK government, which has the power to block direct deals on competition grounds, as the cooling market for sports rights left it facing a £500m-plus drop in the value of the next deal if it went to auction.

The rollover deal, which spans the 2022 to 2025 seasons, will include an extra £100m of trickle-down funding. “This additional £100m will be provided over the next four years only, and will extend support to areas of the football community particularly vulnerable to the impacts of Covid-19,” the league said.

“The additional funding will be available to more than 1,000 clubs in the National League system, women’s and girls’ football, EFL League One and League Two clubs and the Football Foundation. It will also support a number of football-wide projects, which will include the Premier League’s work looking at head injuries in football, anti-discrimination and fan groups who receive funding from the Premier League.”

Ministers have agreed in principle to the deal to help protect clubs’ finances from further strain. Lost ticket sales and rebates to broadcasters over cancelled matches are estimated to have cost clubs up to £2bn, but the government wanted guarantees that the Premier League will funnel more money to harder-hit teams in lower divisions.

“It comes at an important time and will enable us to plan ahead with increased certainty against a more stable economic backdrop,” said Richard Masters, the Premier League’s chief executive, who added that the league was “hugely appreciative” of the government’s position. The deal also includes non-live rights with BBC Sport.

The Premier League’s move away from an open auction comes as the League has seen a drop in the value of its rights. Analysts had forecast that in the next auction the total value could fall by anything from £500m to as much as £900m, following a decade of hyper-inflation as Sky and BT battled for football supremacy.

At the last auction in 2018 overall takings came in about £600m lower than the previous record of £5.1bn, the first decrease since the 2004-05 three-year cycle of rights.

Comcast, which took over Sky in a £30bn deal three years ago, has accelerated the TV company’s move away from bidding big on sports rights.

Philip Jansen, who succeeded Gavin Patterson as BT chief executive in 2018, has also made it clear the telecoms company wants to focus on its £12bn rollout of full fibre broadband and on a new 5G mobile network over controlling expensive sports rights.

Last month the company confirmed it is seeking a strategic partner for the pay-TV business BT Sport, which has lost an estimated £2bn and is barely profitable, to defray the cost of sports rights deals and focus on its core business.

Three years ago Sky and BT ended a nearly decade-long dispute to strike a channel-sharing deal so customers could watch all Premier League games without being forced to buy separate TV packages. This reduced the need to bid big or miss out on the best games, and BT declared it was happy to operate as a “viable second” competitor to Sky in sports broadcasting.

The Premier League has attempted to attract new, deep-pocketed Silicon Valley bidders; at the last auction it offered rights to packages of games designed to appeal to a streaming company. But the initiative failed with Amazon finally stepping in to pay only £90m over three years to stream 20 live games a season.

Last month, the sports streamer Dazn, owned by the billionaire Sir Leonard Blavatnik, agreed a €2.5bn deal for Italy’s Serie A rights from 2021 to 2024, ousting Sky Italia as the main broadcaster.

The German Bundesliga saw the total value of its TV sports rights drop by about five per cent in deals struck last summer for the four years from 2021. - Guardian

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.