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SBD Global/June 14, 2012/Media
Premier League Lands $4.7B TV Rights Bonanza From Sky and BT
Published June 14, 2012
HOW IT HAPPENED: The MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS reported that the Premier League "credited the thrilling last-gasp" title victory by Manchester City over ManU for helping to boost the price by £1.254B (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 6/13). The LONDON TIMES' Philippe Naughton reported that the deal "will give a huge economic boost" to Premier League clubs. BT, meanwhile, will "set up its own dedicated channel to run on multiple platforms." Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore said, BT would “deliver new ways in which fans will be able to follow the competition” (LONDON TIMES, 6/13). THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER noted that al-Jazeera "joined the incumbents" in the battle after the auction went into a second round (THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 6/13). Meanwhile, ESPN released a statement that read, "We made a strong bid that reflected the value of the rights to our business, and we thank the Premier League for the chance to participate. We're looking forward to continuing our Premier League coverage next season, and continuing to serve fans with great live sports events and programming including the FA Cup, Europa League, Scottish Premier League, Serie A, Premiership Rugby, Top 14, golf, darts, UFC, NBA and much more" (ESPN).
IN THE GAME: BLOOMBERG's Jonathan Browning reported that BT will pay a £22M ($34.2M) deposit this month followed by six installments of £120M. It "kept its outlook" for '12-'13, and said earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization will be cut by about £100M ($155.6M) and free cash flow by £200M ($311.1M) in '13-'14. BT CEO Ian Livingston said, “BT is already investing £2.5B ($3.9B) in fiber broadband. Securing Premier League rights fits naturally with this, as consumers increasingly want to buy their broadband and entertainment services from a single provider” (BLOOMBERG, 6/13).
PAYING WHAT IT TAKES TO KEEP ESPN OUT? In London, Dan Sabbagh wrote, "Those who believe that the cost of buying the rights to broadcast Premier League games has reached bubble territory are missing the point. The market price for the matches is no longer in line with the commercial value of the games, but instead in line with the value of keeping other cash rich broadcasters like the Disney-backed ESPN out. ... Football may not have needed BT, but it has turned out that phone giant needed football. Its arrival has hiked up the prices for a league that until Wednesday nobody thought could get richer" (GUARDIAN, 6/13).