Premier League in £5.1bn TV deal

Published: Tuesday 10th February 2015 by The News Editor

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The Premier League has announced a staggering 70% increase in the value of its British television rights for the 2016-19 seasons with Sky and BT Sports paying a combined £5.136 billion to show games.

The new deals will see even more money flood in to the top flight, with the broadcasters paying more than £10 million to screen each game.

The Premier League’s total television deal could exceed £8 billion when the overseas rights are completed in a year’s time, leaving the global game in its wake.

Sky has almost doubled its investment to retain five of the seven packages totalling 126 matches including the new Friday night slot, while BT Sport has two packages making up 42 games.

The Premier League will now net £113,000 a minute from their domestic television rights.

“Am I surprised? Of course: the little old Premier League, doing quite well here – look you laugh, but the reality is that compared with BT and Sky we are (little),” said Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore.

“These are huge companies doing huge things in a market that’s gone way beyond football, there’s a much wider market in play.

“We are the beneficiaries of that: we are a part of it, but only a small part of it.

“I continue to be surprised by every television deal really, in some ways.”

Sky will pay £4.176 billion for the lion’s share of the rights including the Sunday evening ‘jewel in the crown’ package, while BT Sport will pay £960 million. BT Sport will have the Saturday evening package, however, instead of the Saturday lunchtime slot.

Scudamore said the Premier League was confident the rights sale would not be derailed by Virgin Media’s ongoing complaint with the broadcast regulator Ofcom.

He said: “Although we have had a successful outcome for this process, following on from the highlights’ award, there is still the ongoing Ofcom investigation to be concluded. We remain confident that the Premier League’s live UK broadcasting rights are sold in a way that is compatible with both UK and EU competition law as well as being of great benefit to the whole of English football.”

He added: “This outcome provides a degree of certainty so clubs can continue to invest and run themselves in a sustainable manner; it also allows us to start planning how the Premier League can continue to support the rest of the football pyramid from the grassroots upwards.

“This structure also allows us to strike a balance between match-attending fans and those who choose to watch on television. Keeping grounds full is a priority for the Premier League and our clubs, and I am sure the flexible ticketing policies that have helped keep attendances so high will continue to develop.”

Scudamore defended the Premier League against allegations of greed, with Labour’s shadow sports minister Clive Efford demanding increased investment in grassroots football.

“These are incredible sums of money and it would be nothing short of criminal if none of this extra money goes to expand participation at the grassroots of football,” said Efford.

Scudamore hit back claiming the Premier League’s current three-year television deal will generate “more than £3 billion in tax”.

“I think we need to go back to the facts: we currently give away on an annual basis something like £270 million,” said Scudamore.

“You’re looking at £800 million that will be given away by the Premier League this term.

“We don’t need to do that, it’s because the clubs think it’s the right thing to do.

“The exchequer will receive more than £3 billion in tax during this three-year period from this current television deal.

“That’s an awful lot of recycling in income.

“We believe we have a very good track record of investing some of this money in the wider interests in football and the community.

“We know more than anybody that, when you’re a tall poppy, success doesn’t come without its challenges, and without its critics.

“We do more than anybody in this country to redistribute our income and if every other business recycled as much of its revenues as we do, the country would be much better off.”

Published: Tuesday 10th February 2015 by The News Editor

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