Published: Wed, February 14, 2018
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Premier League TV growth halted as United Kingdom rights sold for $6bn

Premier League TV growth halted as United Kingdom rights sold for $6bn

Sky will continue to be the chief telecaster of Premier League football after their broadcasting rights were extended to 2022.

Sky and rival BT Group Plc are together paying 4.46 billion pounds ($6.2 billion) for most of the rights over the three seasons, compared with 5.1 billion pounds in 2015.

Sky Sports is to broadcast 128 games per season, including 32 matches on a Saturday at 17:30.

The two remaining packages of two full matchday programmes have not yet been bought, which means the auction will continue on Thursday.

The networks have agreed to pay a combined sum of £4.464bn to screen games from the English top flight as the successful bidders for five out of seven live packages.

Both the outstanding packages allow for simultaneous live broadcast of matches - there are two rounds of fixtures in each package (20 games in each, 40 games in total). As near as I can tell, the league offers up a total of 200 live matches in bundles, and they let TV companies bid on each bundle individually, as a way to get around fears of one broadcaster monopolizing everything. A list of each of the packages and who they have been awarded to can be found below.

"We will now continue the sales process to deliver the best possible outcome for the remaining packages of rights in the United Kingdom and throughout the rest of the world".

Premier League soccer has always been key to attract and retain TV and broadband subscribers and the cost of the United Kingdom rights has surged 30-fold over the past 25 years. BT has, however, said it "will continue to engage" with the Premier League regarding those packages.

In December, Sky and BT signed a deal to sell their channels on each other's platforms. It will spend £9.3m a game - 16% less than the current deal.

The announcement of reduced income with two packages still to be sold was in line with analysts' predictions that the auction would not surpass the record £5.1bn Sky and BT Sport paid for the current three-year cycle.

BT was also able to sell Sky's Now TV service, which includes Sky Sports, to its customers.

In total BT will show 32 Saturday games per season, down from 42 now, and will pay £295m per season, down from the £320m it agreed last time.

Sky boasted that it "remains the home of Premier League football".

A spokesperson for BT said the company "remained financially disciplined during this process and remains in a strong position to make a return on this investment through subscription, wholesale, commercial and advertising revenues".

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