Early Season Premier League Matches Boost Viewership For Sky, BT
Early season viewing for the Premier League is up, "offering a potential boost to prospects for a coming auction of some of the world’s most lucrative sports rights," according to Hellier, Penty & Mayes of BLOOMBERG. Sky, with rights to most games, has drawn an average of 819,000 TV viewers per match "since the season began in August," up 8% over a year earlier, according to data compiled by Enders Analysis. BT Group brought in 692,000 per match, an increase of 9%. In contrast, the '16-17 season started with a "steep drop" and ended down 10% overall. The gains "may allay concerns" about declining audiences for Britain’s top football competition in recent seasons as owners "prepare to negotiate new rights for the U.K., seeking to increase their haul by attracting web players including Amazon." The take-up also helps Sky and BT justify paying a record £5.14B ($6.8B) together for the U.K. live rights last time, an increase of 70% and the largest in Europe for domestic rights. Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch said, "It's good in terms of viewing. This time last year it was down, so we've recovered pretty much that viewing. It's going well" (BLOOMBERG, 10/12).