The £4billion fight to show live Barclays Premier League football will go into a second round next week.
The bids were tabled for the seven packages — starting in 2016-17 — by a noon deadline on Friday, but there was no immediate verdict from the Premier League, as there was a week earlier for the highlights rights won by BBC.
This is because America’s Discovery Channel and maybe even Qatar-based beIN Sports could join BT Sport and Sky in a fierce battle that will not be concluded until Tuesday or Wednesday.
The PL are expected to ask for revised offers for all packages at the start of next week, which suggests bidding is very close for all sets of rights.
Sky are understood to be putting all their resources into retaining the four prime packages with the most first picks, while BT Sport would be content with increasing their portfolio to 56 games a season.
But the entry of two overseas giants in the domestic market will have the PL looking forward to an even bigger bonanza — pushing the price of one live match to £8million.