BT and Sky in £4.46bn Deal to Show 160 Premier League TV Matches

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Both BT and Sky UK (Sky Broadband) will continue to spend big on their respective UK Pay TV platforms after tonight reaching a £4.464bn deal, which will allow them to show Premier League Football matches for a further 3 years from the 2019/20 season onwards.

The battle between BT and Sky reached new heights in 2015 after Sky spent around £1.392bn and BT splashed out £320m per season on a major Premier League TV football rights deal for the 2016/17 to 2018/19 seasons (here). But in recent months the once bitter relationship has begun to thaw, not least due to several agreements related to the cross-platform supply of premium TV and related sports content (example).

Under today’s new deal BT will continue to show Premier League matches on BT Sport for a further three years from the 2019/20 season, which will cost the operator £295m per season for 32 games (down sharply from 42 matches under the previous deal). A deposit of £26.5m is payable this month followed by six instalments of around £145m starting in July 2019, payable every six months until December 2021.

BT Sport will continue to show games at 5.30pm on Saturdays next season and then move to Saturday lunchtime fixtures from August 2019. Meanwhile Sky has bagged four packs of rights totalling 128 games a season, which is up from 126 matches currently.

The deal will offer Sky Sports viewers every first-pick weekend match, plus Saturday evening fixtures for the first time. Sky has chosen to pay £1,193 million per annum under the terms of the new deal, down £199 million per annum, a 16% cost reduction per game versus the previous agreement.

Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer division, said:

“The Premier League is undoubtedly the most competitive and exciting domestic league in the world, so we’re delighted that our customers will be able to continue enjoying Saturday games on BT Sport.

The Premier League is a big part of our live sport line-up, which includes the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, the Emirates FA Cup, MotoGP, boxing, Aviva Premiership rugby and European Rugby Champions Cup.

BT Sport is enjoyed by over five million households and pubs and clubs across the UK. We are excited about the opportunity to bring this great content to even more TV and mobile customers as we pursue our strategy of being the best provider of converged network services in the UK.”

Stephen van Rooyen, Sky’s UK CEO, said:

“We continue to invest in content that our customers value and which complements our strategy to broaden our offer. Not only do we remain the home of Premier League football but also the home of top quality drama, entertainment, comedy and other sports. Our disciplined approach means we continue to have the flexibility to invest in each of these areas as we choose, underlining our position as Europe’s largest investor in content.”

Today’s agreement with the Premier League means that five of seven live packages have now been awarded, with bidding for the remaining two ongoing. Some earlier rumours have suggested that Amazon may be making a major play to help give its video streaming Prime platform a boost. The same has also been said of Facebook, Netflix and oddly even Twitter. Both BT and Sky are understood to still be engaged in the bidding process.

On the other hand today’s news will probably do little to dampen complaints from some quarters, not least over the ever increasing price of viewing such content. At the same time others continue to suggest that BT should be investing such money into rolling out ultrafast broadband networks to even more of the UK, as opposed to trying to battle Sky over Pay TV content.

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