Just announced in the last half hour, the English Premier League has awarded Sky Sports and BT rights to a total of 154 matches a season starting in 2013. ESPN UK which was thought to be a favorite and Al Jazeera which was hoping to get a foothold into the EPL were effectively shut out. ESPN which entered the EPL scene in 2009 after Setanta Sports went bankrupt and let their rights go up for bid giving ESPN 46 games at first, then a total of 23 games from 2010 through 2013, will enter its last season of airing EPL games in the UK starting in August.
Now with Sky and BT obtaining the rights, ESPN will have to depend on other programming in the UK to attract viewers.
Overall, Sky or BSkyB as it’s known in the UK will have the rights to 116 games a season with new entry BT gaining 38 games. The new TV contract takes effect in the 2013-14 season.
The rights are for 3.018 billion British Pounds or over US$4.6 billion so the English Premier League remains the richest football league in Europe.
ESPN still retains US rights to a package of English Premier League games through this season in a sharing agreement with Fox Soccer.
Here’s the announcement from the English Premier League.
Premier League announces audio-visual rights
The Premier League has concluded the sales process for the seven packages of live audio-visual rights for transmission in the UK during seasons 2013/14 to 2015/16.
The seven packages – five of 26 matches and two of 12 matches – totalling 154 matches were awarded on the following basis:
- BSkyB has secured packages B, C, D, E and F totalling 116 matches.
- BT has secured packages A and G totalling 38 matches.
The overall value delivered for the seven packages following the structured and independently scrutinised sales process is £3.018 billion.
Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore, said: “The Premier League continues to provide excellent football and enthralling drama as we saw last season. The value this drives for our rightsholders is evident and we are extremely pleased that this has been realised for our UK live rights.
“As ever, the security provided by broadcast revenues will enable our clubs to continue to invest in all aspects of their football activities and plan sustainably for the foreseeable future. This deal allows them to keep delivering what fans want; top quality football in some of world’s best club stadia and an increasing focus on and commitment to areas such as Youth Development.
“The continuing support of BSkyB for Premier League football is significant beyond the revenues delivered; the longevity and quality of their commitment has done much for the English game as a whole. We are very happy to see this relationship maintained for another three seasons.
“We welcome BT as a new Premier League broadcast partner. They are a substantial British company that is at the leading edge of technology and infra-structure development. They are clearly investing in quality content to use on their platforms and when combined with the reach and pull of Premier League football they will deliver new ways in which fans will be able to follow the competition.
“These are exciting times for both the football and media worlds and we should all be proud of the value both industries contribute to the UK culturally and economically.
“I would also like to place on record the Premier League’s thanks to the numerous other highly credible bidders that showed such interest in the live UK rights.”
Late last month, the BBC retained rights to weekend Premier League highlights for its Match of the Day program and was allowed to stream the program on its website.
More on this story in the links which will come later today.