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Increased rights fee projected for Sky’s Premier League coverage

UK pay-television broadcaster BSkyB may have to pay a 40-per-cent increase in its fee for the next cycle of live rights to the English Premier League, the top division of football in the country, according to investment bank Morgan Stanley.

In a note to clients, which was reported by the Advanced Television news website, Morgan Stanley said that the anticipated increase would be necessary to retain its current five packages and hold off competition from telecommunications company BT, which currently has two of the seven available live rights packages, plus other bidders.

The investment bank expects the rights for the three seasons, from 2016-17 to 2018-19, to be put on the market “in early 2015.”

Morgan Stanley added: “Our base case assumes that Sky again takes five out of the seven packages. Wary of surprise third-party bidders and of attempts by BT to buy up the most attractive slots, particularly the Sunday 4pm kick-offs, we assume that Sky pays 40 per cent more in the next rights round, raising the price from £760m (€916m/$1.264bn) per annum to £1064m per annum. This is £190m per annum higher than our previous forecast.”

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