The ITT describes the packages of rights the Premier League is now inviting bids for:
The Live rights consist of five packages of 26 matches and two packages of 12 matches. No single buyer will be allowed to acquire more than 116 matches, or four large and one small package. BSkyB has five of the existing six packets of 23 matches, with ESPN the remainder.
According to the EPL, this creates a more attractive and compelling offering for both broadcasters and fans whilst allowing the continued protection of the Saturday 3pm ‘closed window’ and minimising further displacement of Premier League fixtures.
A separate sales process will be conducted for the other packages described in the ITT:
Both the Live and ‘Near Live’ packages will be available for exploitation on a technology neutral basis.
The 154-match live package represents a 12 per cent increase in match coverage and will undoubtedly see a hike in revenue from the current £1.78 billion.
There has been speculation that Al Jazeera may bid for certain rights having been successful in obtaining French rights. ESPNwants to increase its coverage, with Ross Hair, ESPN’s managing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, suggesting the company would bid aggressively, seeking “more games and building the quality of those games”.