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Premier League sell off final two UK rights TV packages on cheap to detriment of fans – Report

12 months ago

The desperation of Premier League clubs to grab ever more money, appears to be never-ending, even if at the expense of the game itself.

On Monday, Liverpool’s owner John Henry revealed that on Thursday the ‘big six’ clubs were going to have another go at trying to force the rest of the Premier League clubs to agree to 35% of the overseas TV cash being split on the basis of league position. Basically to ensure that those six clubs would get a much bigger share than they currently receive.

Everything crossed in the hope that the other 14 clubs aren’t bullied into agreeing to this, further reducing the chances of competing with those clubs.

Now on Tuesday morning, it is now reported that the Premier League have now sold off the final two UK TV rights packages on the cheap.

Back in February it was revealed (see below) that whilst the Premier League had sold five TV packages of live games for the three seasons starting with 2019/20, the other two had failed to get acceptable bids.

In the dash for cash, the PL clubs had increased the number of available live TV matches from 168 as it is now, to an incredible 200 of the 380 each season. Ensuring even more hassle for those fans who actually pay to go to matches.

With such little interest, some supporters had hoped that clubs would maybe for once put fans first, and possibly drop these two so far unsold packages, meaning less disruption for the match-going fans.

However, the Telegraph have now reported that they understand the two packages have now been sold at a discounted price, with one taken by BT and the other by a new ‘rival’, with details of the bids to be revealed when the 20 Premier League clubs meet this Thursday. The Telegraph pointing to the possibility of Facebook or Amazon being the new name to be announced.

The Mag – 14 February 2018:

The Premier League have announced details of winning bids by BT Sport and Sky Sports to show live matches for three years as from the 2019/20 season.

There were seven packages up for grabs.

Sky Sports have come out on top for four of the seven and will show 128 live matches per season.

Whilst the one package BT Sport have been successful with, sees them show 32 games live each season.

Two packages of 20 games each (details below – Packages F and G) are still to be confirmed.

In the bidding process it was announced that no one broadcaster could have the rights to more than 148 live matches per season, so Sky Sports could take one of these remaining packages, whilst BT Sport could take both. Alternatively we could see new successful bidders taking one or both.

The current contract (2016-2019) sees 168 matches per season shown live on BT Sport and Sky Sports and those UK rights were sold for a total of £5.14bn over the three years, which worked out at £10.2m per game.

The five packages so far confirmed for UK live TV rights (2019-22) are for £4.46bn, or £9.3m per match for those 160 games each season.

If the last two packages were sold at the same rate (£9.3m per game) then the deal would net £5.58bn v the £5.14bn last time.

However, the packages yet to be confirmed are very unlikely to be seen as being as attractive as the other five, so the likelihood is that the total amount of money will be very close to what the Premier League clubs currently receive.

In other words, to get the same cash, the Premier League have given broadcasters and extra 32 (168 v 200) matches of the maximum 380 games per season.

Overseas deals are set to show an overall increase, though some of those are still to be confirmed, so it is set to be a case of by just how much they increase.

However, it is very difficult not to think that Premier League club owners have sold off more matches to ensure their revenues say at least the same, without a thought for the supporters who actually go to the games and who are set for more disruption due to the changes, including now matches live on Saturday nights.

When announcing previously the details of the live packages up for grabs, the Premier League also revealed other deals will bring in extra cash:

‘The Premier League intends at a later date to conduct a separate sales process for a single Near-Live package encompassing:

– Near-live long-form rights to 180 non-live matches per season, for linear and on-demand exploitation.

– Internet clips rights to all 380 matches per season.’

Premier League Official Statement – 13 February 2018:

UK broadcast rights sales process not concluded, but five of seven live packages awarded for seasons 2019/20 – 2021/22

The Premier League’s UK broadcast rights sales process has not yet concluded, but we can announce that five of the seven live packages have been awarded.

The successful broadcasters – BT and Sky – are listed companies and are required to announce publicly the details of their acquisitions.

Therefore, the Premier League is providing this progress update.

BT and Sky have been awarded the following Premier League UK live broadcasting rights for seasons 2019/20 – 2021/22:

BT Sport: Package A

Sky Sports: Packages B, C, D, E

The table below provides details of each of the rights packages.

The value realised at this stage of the process is £4.464billion, with two live packages still to be sold with interest from multiple bidders.

“We are extremely pleased that BT and Sky continue to view the Premier League and our clubs as such an important part of their offering,” Premier League Executive Chairman Richard Scudamore said.

“Both broadcasters are fantastic partners for the Premier League and have a track record of making our competition available to fans across the country through their high-quality and innovative programming.

“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.

“It provides them with certainty and will underpin their continued efforts to put on the most compelling football, invest sustainably in all areas, and use their popularity and reach to have a positive impact on the sport and beyond.

“We will now continue the sales process to deliver the best possible outcome for the remaining packages of rights in the UK and throughout the rest of the world.”

Live packages

Package A

Total matches: 32 (20 second picks, 12 fifth picks)

Matches per club: Maximum six; minimum one.

Kick-off times: 32 matches at Saturday 12.30

Package B

Total matches: 32 (15 first picks, five third picks, 12 fifth picks)

Matches per club: Max six; min one

Kick-off times: 32 matches at Saturday 17.30

Package C

Total matches: 32 (14 second picks; 18 fourth picks)

Matches per club: Max five; min one

Kick-off times: 24 matches at Sunday 14.00 and 8 matches at Saturday 19.45

Package D

Total matches: 32 (19 first picks; seven third picks; six fourth picks)

Matches per club: Max five; min one

Kick-off times: 32 matches at Sunday 16.30

Package E

Total matches: 32 (22 third picks; 10 fourth picks)

Matches per club: Max five; min none

Kick-off times: 24 matches at Monday 20.00 or Friday 19.30 – 20.00 and 8 matches at Sunday 14.00

Package F

Total matches: 20

Matches per club: Max two; min two

Kick-off times: All 20 matches from one Bank Holiday and one midweek fixture programme

Package G

Total matches: 20

Matches per club: Max two; min two

Kick-off times: All 20 matches from two midweek fixture programmes


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