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SBD Global/October 11, 2012/Media

Rising Cost Of Premier League TV Rights Forces Broadcasters To Make 'Tough Choices'

Sky Sports Managing Dir Barney Francis has admitted that the huge inflation in the cost of Premier League TV rights has led to "tough choices and could have implications for other sports," according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. Francis insisted that the cost to the consumer would "largely be absorbed by cost savings elsewhere but admitted there would be a knock-on effect" for other sports. Francis said, "You would expect us to build some inflation into our financial planning, and we have flexibility to absorb the bulk of these costs. But it is a challenge for the whole company, and choices have to be made (GUARDIAN, 10/10).

HOPING FOR A RUGBY BOOST: In London, Roger Blitz reported that BT Vision last month "added further firepower to its sports strategy" by paying £152M ($244M) to take over the Premiership rugby rights held by Sky and ESPN. Francis said, “We’ve had to make some tough choices, and one of these was around Premiership Rugby ... [They] took a decision to go with BT. It wasn’t particularly working for us and we were the junior partners ... We changed tack.” Asked if BSkyB had begun to focus on the next set of Premier League rights beginning in '16, Francis said, “The company has a long-term plan, and every director feeds into that. The sports rights market is like any market – it ebbs and flows. It’s particularly competitive now, it wasn’t particularly competitive two years ago” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 10/10).
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