BT is surprise winner in Premier League rights auction

The English Premier League announced today, Wednesday, that it had secured a 70-per-cent increase in its total live domestic rights income for the three-year cycle from 2013-14 to 2015-16, with BSkyB remaining the competition’s main rights-holder and pay-television rival ESPN replaced by telecommunications company BT.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said that increased competition in the tender process had helped to boost the total domestic live rights income to £3.018 billion (€3.726 billion / $4.66 billion) over three years – up from £1.77 billion in the current cycle, from 2010-11 to 2012-13.

Sky acquired five of the seven available packages to secure 116 games per season – the maximum allowed for one broadcaster in the tender. By purchasing packages B, C, D, E and F, Sky retained rights for its established Sunday afternoon double-header and its Monday night slot, while the broadcaster also acquired rights for Saturday early evening matches and some Sunday lunchtime games.

BT acquired the remaining two packages – A and G – totalling 38 matches per season. BT’s packages include rights for 28 Saturday lunchtime games and 10 matches taking place on bank holidays or midweek evenings.

The fees agreed by Sky and BT were not disclosed.

In its current deals for live rights with the pay-television broadcasters BSkyB and ESPN, the league earns £590 million per season, of which Sky contributes £541 million and ESPN £49 million.

“There were new bidders in the commercial procedure and competition drives value for us,” Scudamore said. “The continuing support of BSkyB for Premier League football is significant beyond the revenues delivered; the longevity and quality of their commitment has done much for the English game as a whole.

“We welcome BT as a new Premier League broadcast partner,” he added. “They are a substantial British company that is at the leading edge of technology and infrastructure development. They are clearly investing in quality content to use on their platforms and when combined with the reach and pull of Premier League football they will deliver new ways in which fans will be able to follow the competition.

“I would also like to place on record the Premier League’s thanks to the numerous other highly credible bidders that showed such interest in the live UK rights.”