The English Premier League has launched an invitation to tender for its UK rights for three seasons, from 2013-14 to 2015-16.
The live rights have been split into seven packages, five containing 26 matches each per season and the other two containing 12 matches each. The total number of live matches available is 154, up from 138 in the current three-year cycle. No single buyer will be allowed to acquire more than 116 games in total.
The league also offered a free-to-air highlights package, including ‘catch-up’ rights, as part of the ITT.
In a separate sales process, two near-live packages, each containing 226 matches – one for linear exploitation and the other for on-demand platforms – and a package of internet clips covering all 380 matches per season will be sold.
The live and near-live rights are available on a platform-neutral basis.
The league did not give a deadline for bids.
The league said the structure of the rights model would create “a more attractive and compelling offering for both broadcasters and fans”.
In the current cycle, from 2010-11 to 2012-13, BSkyB holds five packages of live rights, covering 115 matches per season in total, while rival pay-television broadcaster ESPN has the one remaining live rights package, containing 23 matches. The six packages were sold for a total of £1.78 billion (€2.17 billion/$2.84 billion) over the three seasons.