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SBD/Issue 98/Sports Media
EPL Unveils Record U.K. TV Deal, BSkyB Wins Five Of Six Packages
Published February 9, 2009
BLOW TO SETANTA: In Manchester, Mark Sweney noted Setanta "has invested hundreds of millions of pounds into sports rights to crack the UK pay-TV market," but the loss of an EPL package "raises questions about Setanta's strategic position" in the market. One analyst: "Setanta is going to have to look at its options, such as perhaps a wholesale deal to bundle its matches with Sky Sports." BSkyB also "will now have to consider its options." An analyst noted BSkyB "can't acquire Setanta and there has to be a sports competitor to BSkyB. Regulators demand it, so it is not in Sky's best interests to see Setanta off. They must have a plan to accommodate them, to shut the door (on Setanta) could see them go into the arms of, say, ESPN, making it potentially an even stronger competitor down the line" (Manchester GUARDIAN, 2/7). Enders Analysis analyst Toby Syfret estimated BSkyB "might make [US$29.9M] or so more annually in increased advertising and revenues from pubs and clubs" as a result of the new deal. Syfret: "But they are paying [US$153.7M] more, so it is not absolutely clear what the benefit is for them, except putting Setanta in its place" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 2/7).
WHAT RECESSION? In London, Nick Harris wrote the deal shows that the EPL is, "once and for all, recession-proof." The deal "means the wages stay high" and "the best players stay." Harris: "The show goes on." EPL clubs "have three revenue streams: match-day, commercial, and media," and with the deal, media revenue "has been secured at a stroke until 2013." Match-day revenue also, "for the moment, shows few signs of dropping massively" (London INDEPENDENT, 2/7). Meanwhile, In Manchester, Leigh Holmwood reported U.K.'s Channel Five has signed an exclusive deal with EPL club Aston Villa "to screen its next Uefa Cup clash," the February 18 CSKA Moscow-Aston Villa match, as well as Aston Villa's "next round match, should the club make it that far" (Manchester GUARDIAN, 2/7).