Sky extends Premier League rights with cost saving deal

Sky extends Premier League rights with cost saving deal

Sky and BT are once again the big winners in the battle to secure the United Kingdom broadcasting rights to Premier League football, but there remains an opportunity for USA tech giants to pounce.

Yet in the new tranche of rights, Sky has nabbed the four main totalling 128 games a season, up from 126 matches now, for "just" £1.193 billion per annum, representing a 16% cost reduction per game compared with the current agreement.

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

Sky and BT Sport have held on to the bulk of the Premier League's live matches but the exponential rise in the cost of television rights has come to an abrupt halt.

Even the most optimistic forecast of income from the remaining two packages is therefore expected to still leave the Premier League's overall total down on or similar to the existing deal.

The two remaining rights packages are for: all 20 matches from one Bank Holiday and one mid-week fixture programme; and all 20 matches from two midweek fixture programmes.

The 2019-2022 Chinese rights have already been sold to online video streaming service PPTV for $700 million in the league's biggest-ever global deal.

But with five of the seven packages agreed the ones that have gone so far have cost £4.464billion - which is just under £700million short of the total achieved in 2015, when 168 games were up for grabs.

If the tech firms do jump in, there might be an opportunity for United Kingdom fans to watch at least some live games without paying BT or Sky.

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BT Sport won the EPL's package A, with the 32 matches at half past midday on Saturday.

The sudden ferocity of competition between Sky and BT Sport which boosted the Premier League clubs' coffers for the 2016-19 cycle has calmed a little after the two companies signed a deal in December which enables each to offer the other's channels on their platform.

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.

The new TV deal sees Sky and BT swap their slots on Saturday, with Sky also landing the new batch of Saturday night games.

Amazon and Facebook look the key players, but Twitter and Netflix could also bid.

In addition to the remaining two United Kingdom packages to be decided, a further windfall will be expected when the overseas rights are sold.

Meanwhile Sky UK chief executive Stephen van Rooyen said: "We continue to invest in content that our customers value and which complements our strategy to broaden our offer".

The companies commented that they had taken a "disciplined approach".

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