Sky faces Premier League rights fee hike, analyst says

UK pay-television operator BSkyB could be forced to spend up to 25 per cent more on its rights fees to hold off competition from fellow pay-television broadcaster Al Jazeera and retain its packages in the next English Premier League tender, research company Bernstein said.

Al Jazeera entered the French market this year by buying domestic football league rights and out-bidding rival pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus for rights for Uefa Champions League football. According to the PaidContent media news website, Bernstein believes Al Jazeera could attempt a similar move into the UK media market for the Premier League tender for the 2013-14 to 2015-16 seasons.

“We would expect [Sky] to spend 15-25 per cent more than in the previous round of negotiation in 2009,” Bernstein said. Bernstein added that it expects Sky to retain “all but one package” despite competition from “at least two other entities.”

Bernstein also predicted that technology company Apple could be one of the Premier League’s rivals.

Sky paid £1.623bn (€1.93bn/$2.52bn) for five of the six available Premier League domestic packages in the tender for the 2010-11 to 2012-13 seasons, with pay-television broadcaster ESPN acquiring the other package.