Sky and BT have given the Premier League its "first ever pay cut" after agreeing to pay £4.46B ($6.19B) for rights to the "majority of live top-flight matches," according to Christopher Williams of the London TELEGRAPH. Five out of seven packages of matches have been awarded in "football's triennial big money auction," covering three seasons from '19. The price means the the total cost of domestic Premier League rights is in line to "fall for the first time since the competition began more than quarter of a century ago." Sky will remain the "dominant" Premier League broadcaster after it secured four of the five packages, including Monday, Friday and Saturday evenings, as well as Sunday matches. The pay-TV company will pay £9.3M ($12.9M) per match, a 16% discount on its current bill of more than £11M ($15.3M). BT secured rights to Saturday lunchtime kickoffs at a cost of £9.2M ($12.8M) each. It represents an increase on the company's current bill of £7.6M ($10.6M) per match and "means a slightly weaker schedule" as BT Sport currently shows Saturday matches in the "more popular" 5:30pm slot. However, unless it buys one of the two unsold packages, BT's overall Premier League cost will fall from £320M ($444.4M) to £295M ($409.7M) per season. The deflation is a "blow" to the Premier League, which hoped U.S. tech companies such as Amazon and Facebook "would arrive to ramp up competition and push prices higher again." Its total income from domestic rights increased 70% last time as "BT and Sky's broadband and pay-TV rivalry drove spiralling bids" (TELEGRAPH, 2/13).
Works out at £9.3m per match down from £10.19m under current deal - bubble slowly deflating for domestic PL rights pic.twitter.com/DWGZ06ENaK— Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) February 13, 2018
REUTERS' Sandle & Smout reported in total, the £4.46B the two companies agreed to pay for 160 games a season for three years is below the record £5.14B ($7.14B) raised in '15, "albeit with two small packages of 40 games remaining to be sold." The Premier League, however, said that it was "extremely pleased" that BT and Sky continued to view its matches as an "important part of their offering." EPL Exec Chair Richard Scudamore said, "To have achieved this investment with two packages of live rights remaining to sell is an outcome that is testament to the excellent football competition delivered by the clubs." Sky UK CEO Stephen van Rooyen said that the broadcaster's "disciplined approach to the auction had paid off, leaving it with the flexibility to invest in more entertainment and other content."
Premier League has sold 5 of 7 packages of live TV rights for £4.464bn for 2016-19. Sky gets 4 packages. BT gets 1 package. The rest still in the melting pot... Amazon..?— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) February 13, 2018
Van Rooyen: "Not only do we remain the home of Premier League football but also the home of top quality drama, entertainment, comedy and other sports" (REUTERS, 2/13).