Facebook, Netflix and Google will likely not submit bids for the next round of Premier League TV rights in today’s (February 9th) auction, with most analysts believing Sky and BT will remain the major players.
It has long been rumoured that the online giants would bid for a package(s) of games, but according to a report in the Guardian, they are “not yet ready to get involved in live sport rights in the UK”. Amazon, however, remains a strong contender to bid for at least one of the seven packages on offer.
The bidding process, which covers 200 games a season between 2019 and 2022, is a closely guarded process that sees most broadcasters submit their offers by hand. Details on winning bidders are expected to be revealed early next week.
In 2015, Sky spent £4.1 billion (€4.6bn) to air 126 games a season, with main rival BT picking up the remaining 42 games for £960 million. This time, the league is offering 32 more games a season and experimenting with new time slots. One of the packages offers 24 games at 2pm on Sundays and eight games at 7.45pm on Saturdays.
Kieran Maguire, a football finance expert at the University of Liverpool, told the Guardian that he did not believe the tech giants were ready to enter the market.
“That is just the Premier League talking up auction prices,” he said. “It makes no sense for them to bid domestically as the UK is insignificant when looking at global strategy. There is some potential in overseas markets but there is still an issue of monetising subscribers – even Netflix hasn’t quite managed that yet.”