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English Premier League seals new domestic TV deal
Live rights packages sold for total of £5.136B ($7.84B)
Pay-TV broadcaster Sky wins five of seven packages
Previous deal for three years worth £3.01B ($4.59B)
The English Premier League (EPL) will gross over $8 billion from its latest domestic rights deal, with pay-TV broadcaster Sky retaining the largest proportion of live televised matches, it was announced Tuesday.
The deal for the three seasons from 2016 covers 168 live matches per season, with Sky to show 126 games, including Friday night matches for the first time.
Rival BT Sport has been awarded the remaining packages.
It represents a massive increase on the $4.59B paid by the same broadcasters to acquire the equivalent set of rights from 2013-16 and will make the EPL the second richest league in the world behind the National Football League (NFL) in the United States.
Last week it was announced that the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) had paid $311 million to show highlights packages, while the lucrative overseas rights for the EPL have still to be assigned.
Each succeeding rights auction since the EPL was launched in 1992 has seen large percentage increases and has directly benefited the financial position of the 20 clubs in English football’s top-flight.
The money is shared among the clubs with 50% of the amount divided equally, 25% awarded as a result of their finishing position in the league and the final quarter distributed to clubs depending on how many of its games are screened live on television.
The broadcast deals have helped propel all 20 into the top 40 in the annual league of richest clubs worldwide compiled by Deloitte, a leading sports business analyst.
Austin Houlihan, who specializes in rights deals for Deloitte, said there was no sign that the upward trend was going to end any time soon.
“With increases already achieved from domestic live and highlights rights deals and anticipated strong growth in overseas deals, the benefits of the new deals for Premier League clubs will be substantial,” he told CNN.
“In 1991/92, the season before the inception of the Premier League, top-flight clubs generated less than £15m ($22.6m) in broadcast revenue. In 2013/14, the first season of the current three-year cycle, the 20 top-flight clubs shared broadcast distributions totaling £1.5 billion ($2.26B). The new round of deals from 2016/17, will deliver record amounts to clubs.
“With this latest round of Premier League deals we see no signs that the ‘media rights bubble’ is going to burst any time soon, as some have predicted regularly over the last 20 years,” he added.
Announcing the deal Tuesday, EPL chief executive Richard Scudamore said the clubs had delivered “competitive and compelling football” which had helped to increase viewing figures as well as live attendances.
“Both Sky Sports and BT Sport have done a tremendous job in bringing the game to the fans as well as providing the revenue that allows clubs to invest in football, facilities, youth development and their communities,” he added.
Sky, which is 39% owned by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox organization, has a network of television channels but also provides Internet and telephone services.
It has had to fight off the challenge of BT Sport, a subsidiary operation of BT Group plc, the British multinational telecommunications services company, to win the biggest rights packages on the last two auctions of EPL rights.
Meanwhile, later Tuesday, some of the clubs set to benefit from the new riches were in action, with Mario Balotelli scoring the winner for Liverpool in their crucial 3-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur.
Harry Kane was among the scorers again as Tottenham twice came from behind to level, but lost out to the late strike from substitute Balotelli – his first EPL goal.
Arsenal edged bottom club Leicester 2-1 to move up to fourth, while QPR’s 2-0 win at Sunderland took them out of the bottom three, with Aston Villa dropping into the relegation zone after going down 2-0 at Hull.