The Premier League has today (Friday) launched two separate invitations to tender for the UK audiovisual broadcasting rights to the top division of English football for the three seasons from 2016-17 to 2018-19.
The main offering comprises live broadcasting rights to a total of 168 matches – split into seven packages – and a free-to-air highlights package.
The live rights consist of five packages of 28 matches and two packages of 14 matches. No single buyer will be allowed to acquire more than 126 matches.
The Premier League said: “This creates an attractive offering for broadcasters and fans; whilst allowing the continued protection of the Saturday 3pm 'closed period' – the purpose of which is to encourage attendances and participation at all levels of the sport at the traditional time at which English football takes place across the country.”
The Premier League said a separate sales process will take place later for two other packages. The first of these is a ‘near live’ long form package containing 212 matches, for linear and on-demand exploitation. The second offering will be an internet-based clips package for all matches.
Both the live and near live packages will be available for exploitation on a technology neutral basis.
In the last auction process, incorporating seasons 2013-14 to 2015-16, 154 matches were made available for live UK broadcast split into seven packages. Pay-television broadcaster BSkyB won five of the packages, comprising 116 matches, and telecommunications company BT two packages comprising 38 matches for its new pay-television service BT Sport. The seven packages were sold for a total of £3.018bn (€3.8bn/$4.7bn).