Super pack option touted for remaining Premier League rights

The Premier League, the top division of English club football, could merge its two remaining domestic rights packages into a ‘super pack’, according to multiple reports.

The Mail on Sunday newspaper said a merged package of 40 live matches per season, near live rights to all 380 games per season and clip rights would mark the first time that rights to live matches are sold alongside near-live rights.

UK pay-television broadcaster Sky last week retained the bulk of live domestic rights to the Premier League, with the award of contracts signifying a reversal in the trend of sky-rocketing fees from recent tenders, albeit with two packages left on the table.

Incumbent rights-holders Sky, and pay-television rival BT Sport, secured five of the seven live packages on offer at a total value of £4.464bn (€5.09bn/$6.22bn). The rights are for the three seasons spanning 2019-20 to 2021-22.

Sky Sports secured Packages B, C, D and E. Package B comprises 32 matches kicking off at 5.30pm on Saturdays, while Package C includes 24 matches kicking off at 2pm on Sundays, plus eight matches kicking off at 7.45pm on Saturdays.

Package D consists of 32 matches kicking off at 4.30pm on Sundays, while Package E has 24 matches kicking off at either 8pm on Mondays or 7.30pm-8pm on Fridays, plus eight matches kicking off at 2pm on Sundays.

BT Sport has acquired Package A – 32 matches kicking off at 12.30pm on Saturdays. The Premier League in December made a total of 200 live matches per season available through its tender document for the next cycle of domestic rights. The total figure represents an increase from the 168 matches per season currently broadcast live by Sky and BT Sport.

The Premier League last week said there is interest from “multiple bidders” for the remaining two live packages in the marketplace. These are Package F, which comprises all 20 matches from one Bank Holiday and one midweek fixture programme, and Package G – all 20 matches from two midweek fixture programmes.

The Mail on Sunday said the League’s preferred option is to sell the last two packages separately. It added that there is no requirement that the games included in the packages are simulcast.

The super pack option would preclude Sky from bidding as the broadcaster already has rights to 128 live games per season. No single buyer is being allowed to acquire more than 148 matches per season.