Surprise bidder BT has acquired the rights to broadcast live Premier League games for the first time, securing the rights to 38 matches a season from 2013-14 to 2015-16. BSkyB will continue to show the bulk of games, securing the rights to 116 games per season.
The total of 154 live matches is 16 more than currently broadcast and more than 40 per cent of all top-level matches.
The sales raised £3.018 billion, an increase of £1.25 billion on the current package which shares rights between BSkyB and ESPN.
BT is paying £246 million per season for its broadcast rights, while BSkyB is paying £760 million a year.
BT said it would launch a new football-focused channel to carry the games. “It will offer new interactive features when supplied over BT’s fibre network and we will look to distribute it on other platforms,” the telco said.
BT said full details and pricing would be published in due course.
“We welcome BT as a new Premier League broadcast partner,” said Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore. “They are a substantial British company that is at the leading edge of technology and infrastructure development.”
He added that BT would “deliver new ways in which fans will be able to follow the competition”.
Sky has been awarded live rights across all platforms – including satellite, cable, IPTV, online and mobile. This means that, in addition to TV, Sky customers will continue to benefit from live Premier League coverage through Sky Go on PCs, laptops, smartphones, tablets and games consoles. Coverage will also be made available on Sky’s new internet TV service, NOW TV, which launches later this year.
Jeremy Darroch, Sky’s Chief Executive, said: “This is a good result for our customers and for our business. It means that Sky Sports remains the home of Premier League football and that viewers will continue to enjoy our live and exclusive coverage until at least 2016.
“We have never offered greater depth and breadth of coverage on Sky Sports, with unprecedented live action right across the schedule. At the same time we’re pushing ahead with more original British content, extending our leadership as the UK’s favourite triple play provider, and launching our new internet TV service, NOW TV, which will give us even more ways to distribute our content.
“In what was a very competitive tender process, we are pleased to have secured the combination of rights that we wanted, providing certainty for us and our customers. Whilst the cost is higher, we have capacity for this increase through the combination of excellent work on cost efficiency across the business and choices over other future spending. As a result, we remain confident of delivering our financial plans, in line with our expectations, unchanged, in each year of the new deal.”
Barney Francis, Managing Director of Sky Sports, adds: “The Premier League has never been more popular with our customers so it’s excellent news that Sky Sports viewers will continue to enjoy the biggest and best games, including Super Sunday and Monday Night Football. “Sky Sports viewers have never had so much choice of high quality action. Alongside the Premier League, we have long term agreements in place to show the best in live sport, including UEFA Champions League football, European, Ryder Cup and US tour golf, Test and one-day cricket and Formula One. At the same time, we’ll continue to innovate in providing the best coverage possible.”