Jan 172015

The Premier League’s chances of sealing a staggering £10million-per-game agreement – and £5 billion overall – from the next three-year domestic rights deal are even stronger now two foreign TV giants are involved.

The battle between Sky Sports and BT Sport in the auction for the seven packages was already such that £10m for each of 168 live games was an achievable target.

But the Premier League also have America’s massively-funded Discovery Channel looking closely at the tender document while Qatar-based beIN Sports are discussing whether to bid before the February 6 deadline.

Discovery, famous for their documentaries, look the more interested of the two potential new challengers. They own Eurosport so have an established platform on which to screen matches. Even one of the two mini 14-game packages might be seen as a way of establishing the Discovery-Eurosport partnership in the UK. Sports rights specialist Peter Hutton has been appointed Eurosport CEO to build content.

As for beIN Sports, they have the financial muscle to outbid all rivals and it seems a matter of when, rather than if, they will enter England’s domestic football market.

Doha executives say they will give serious consideration as to whether now is the right time to move. The competition will delight the Premier League, who sell each of the seven packages to the highest bidder, and it might be that three different networks share content from 2016-17.

Oct 162014

The Premier League may give up yet more of their traditional Saturday 3pm kick-offs to satisfy bidders in the next TV rights tender.

They will want to keep both Sky and BT happy with the next three-year agreement from the 2016-17 season, with the packages on offer expected to be launched around the new year.

BT Sport, who have taken the Champions League from Sky, will want at least three packages out of the current seven, and Sky cannot afford to lose any Premier League football.

So one option being looked at by the league and mooted in ongoing talks with broadcast partners is increasing the number of live matches to be sold. That went up from 138 to 154 in the last auction but is still less than half the 380 games in a PL season.

An extra Sunday night slot — like Spain’s La Liga — could be shoehorned into the TV schedule to give BT the opportunity to screen more games, while Sky would at least retain their current share.