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Incredible increase in number of Premier League Live TV games

4 years ago

The subject of Premier League Live TV games has been headline news once again.

Or rather, the amounts of cash that will be earned in the future, has dominated debate.

This week saw confirmation of five of the available seven packages when it comes to UK TV broadcasting rights of Premier League live TV games.

This is for the period covering seasons 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22.

The cash from overseas rights is set to remain around the same level at worst, or more likely show an increase compared to the current position. The overseas money arrives via deals struck country by country or region by region and with a number still to be agreed, the ones already signed off all but confirms that the current levels will be at least matched.

The five UK deals so far agreed, cover 160 of the 380 Premier League matches each season for 2019-22.

They have already guaranteed £4.46bn per season in the new deal, with the UK live rights paying a total of £5.14bn over the course of the current three year contracts.

The two remaining packages are yet to be confirmed and they cover another 40 Premier League Live TV games.

The current contracts mean that broadcasters are paying on average £10.2m per game for UK rights. However, the deals for the 160 matches so far, are only paying on average £9.3m per match.

The two remaining packages are generally agreed to be less attractive than the other five, so the expectation that the price per game paid for those 40 games will be lower again than the £9.3m per match already agreed for the 160 so far.

So what we are talking about here is that the 20 Premier League clubs have agreed to far more Premier League Live TV games, to guarantee they continue to get at least the same amount of money. With the final UK rights for all 200 live matches unlikely to be much higher, if anything, than the current £5.14bn banked over this three year deal of which the 2017/18 season is the middle one of it.

When we get to the end of these next contracts (2021/22), it will mean we have had 30 years of the Premier League, and the chase for TV cash has been ever escalating.

This is how many Premier League Live TV games were shown in the UK in each period:

60 1992-2001

106 2001-2004

138 2004-2013

154 2013-2016

168 2016-2019

200 2020-2022

For the first time, a majority of Premier League matches will be shown live when the new contracts kick in for the 2019/20 season, with 200 of the 380 broadcast live in the UK.

The very first contract (seasons 1992/93, 1993/94, 1994/95) saw only 60 of 420 PL games shown live, at this time there were still 22 clubs in the top tier, so 40 more matches.

That was less than 15% of matches sold off for live coverage.

As you can see, the greed of club owners at the expense and inconvenience of match going fans, has seen that percentage of live matches sold off, increasing substantially.

The current figure of 168 live matches from a total of 380 represents 44%.

When we then move to 200 of 380 it will be 53%.

How many fans who pay to go to matches would vote (if given the chance) in favour of this relentless urge to bank more TV money?

Newcastle fans have already seen 16 of their first 31 Premier League matches chosen for live UK broadcast with almost certainly more to come.

This follows a pattern over the years where despite regular failure on the pitch, a disproportionately higher number of NUFC matches are chosen, ahead of all but a handful of other clubs.

When Sky Sports viewing figures dipped last season, Newcastle United were even mentioned as a key factor in that, due to dropping into the Championship.

So if 44% of Premier League matches are currently shown live and Newcastle’s figure is likely to be at least 50% or more, when it rises to 53% of PL games overall in the new contracts, fair to assume that at least 60% of Newcastle matches will be shown live.

For those of us who are 3pm Saturday afternoon traditionalists, they will be increasingly rare in the future.


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