Fans forced to pay more as Eleven Sports and Amazon add to TV rights jumble | Martha Kelner

Cost to supporters wanting to follow all the major football leagues rises as Sky and BT face growing competition If you had the time or indeed the inclination to watch every screened football match from the top tier of all the major European leagues this season, you would need to cough up more money than ever. It is no longer as simple as lazily switching on Sky Sports and seeing what matches might be on. Related: Eleven Sports: who is the new player in the battle for sport broadcast rights? Continue reading...

Sky and BT looking to up their game with shadow of Amazon looming

In the final season of the current rights deal, before online streaming becomes officially available in the UK, both major broadcasters have seen high-profile pundits depart Lights, camera … time for action as Sky and BT gear up for another nine months of covering the Premier League. A fresh season means fresh excitement, yet there will also be a level of concern at the headquarters of both broadcasters, and for similar reasons – the loss of a big-name pundit allied to an acceptance that they simply must deliver ahead of arguably the biggest shake-up in domestic football coverage for a generation. The 2018-19 campaign is the last to fall under the current Premier League TV deal, which was signed off in February 2015 and saw Sky and BT maintain their grip on live rights in the UK. That changed in June, however, when Amazon strode on to the scene and Continue reading "Sky and BT looking to up their game with shadow of Amazon looming"

Amazon breaks Premier League hold of Sky and BT with Prime streaming deal

US online retailer will exclusively livestream 20 matches per season from 2019 Amazon has broken Sky and BT’s stranglehold on Premier League football by striking a groundbreaking deal to livestream exclusive coverage of 20 matches per season online. The US company will exclusively livestream all 10 matches over one bank holiday of Premier League games and another 10 during one midweek fixture programme, for three seasons from 2019. Continue reading...

Sky netted a sweet Premier League deal but the TV rights bubble isn’t over

The value of TV packages may have plateaued in the UK but footie bosses aren’t worried, with the game’s appeal growing globally and the likes of Amazon on the sidelinesOn the face of it, the outcome of the latest battle for Premier League TV rights appears to be business as usual. Sky has taken the lion’s share of the best matches, extending its stranglehold on the biggest prize in British sports broadcasting to at least three decades, with BT slotting into second place. But with Amazon in the running for at least one of the two remaining rights packages, Rupert Murdoch poised to take full control of Sky and then sell it to Disney, and BT calling time on its big spending on sports rights, it is a seminal moment. Continue reading...

What the Premier League TV deal means for you: key questions answered

Will subscriptions become cheaper? Will BT customers miss out? What will happen with the unsold packages? A guide to the new deal How does the Premier League rights auction work? The Premier League divides up 200 matches per season into seven packages for companies such as Sky, BT and (potentially) Amazon to place bids to air for three years from 2019 to 2022. These packages vary in quality, offering a mix of options such as highly coveted “first picks” of prime games, and different times and days of the week. Under law, no single bidder is allowed to buy more than five packs. Continue reading...

Sky and BT are paying less but the Premier League bubble has not burst

Broadcasters are saving under the latest TV rights deal but it does not look like the beginning of the end for the money feastAn assessment of the near-£4.5bn committed to Premier League clubs for live UK televising of their matches from 2019‑22 can be assisted by adapting a famous old quip: reports of football’s bubble bursting are greatly exaggerated. True, this £4.464bn to 20 football clubs, on which Sky and BT Sport will aim to make profits by charging supporters subscriptions, is approximately £500m less than the record £5.1bn the two broadcasters paid last time for the 2016-19 rights. But it does not look like the beginning of the end for the money feast for clubs, their owners, managers, players and agents, which they have been served up for 25 years by making supporters pay to watch football on television. Continue reading...

Sky and BT Sport pay £4.464bn for first tranche of Premier League TV packages

• Five of seven packages available have been announced
• Sky to broadcast 128 matches starting from 2019-20 seasonThe Premier League has announced details for five of the seven live television packages, with BT Sport and Sky paying a combined £4.464bn. The deal means that Sky will host 128 matches starting from the 2019-20 season up to and including 2021-22, while BT Sport has purchased only one package so far of 32 matches. Continue reading...

Facebook, Google and Netflix not ready to enter Premier League TV rights battle

• Sky and BT likely to remain major players between 2019 and 2022
• Amazon could submit bid for one of less attractive packagesFacebook, Google and Netflix are not submitting bids for the next round of Premier League TV rights, with most analysts believing Sky and BT will remain the major players. It had been thought the Silicon Valley tech giants could intervene and cause a price hike from the £5.1bn Sky and BT combined paid in 2015 but the Guardian understands they are not yet ready to get involved in live sport rights in the UK. It is thought Amazon, who have already demonstrated an appetite for live sporting rights, could submit a bid for one of the less attractive of the seven packages that went out to tender in September. Continue reading...

BT chief: We don’t need Premier League rights

Gavin Patterson says firm has ‘Plan B’ if price for live football coverage goes beyond top bid
BT does not need exclusive Premier League games and has a “Plan B” if the company misses out in the upcoming £6bn TV rights auction, the chief executive has said. BT and Sky are due to lodge their bids next week for the three-year cycle of Premier League live TV rights beginning in 2019-20. Analysts expect 15-23% inflation on the £5.14bn paid last time; £960m by BT for 42 live matches a season, and £4.18bn by Sky for 126 games. Digital rivals, such as Amazon or Facebook, could also enter the bidding for one of the less attractive packages of games. Continue reading...

Jürgen Klopp claims Liverpool FA Cup tie was cut short on broadcaster’s orders

• Manager says TV wanted no more than four minutes’ stoppage time
• BT Sport denies claim and says it has no influence on the decisionJürgen Klopp has alleged Liverpool’s FA Cup tie against West Bromwich Albion was cut short by six minutes on the orders of broadcasters. Liverpool’s fourth-round defeat on Saturday was frequently interrupted by the referee Craig Pawson’s use of VAR. The match official used the review system on eight separate occasions and, in the first half alone, employed VAR to disallow an Albion goal, award a penalty to Liverpool and allow the visitors’ third goal. Continue reading...

Who is paying for the Premier League’s bumper TV deal? Your local pub

Sky and BT hiked up prices by around 10% last summer to cover the cost of their £8.3bn deal with the Premier League. Not every pub can afford to pay By Joe Devine for The Set Pieces, part of the Guardian Sport Network
The recent Premier League season was the first in the latest three-year broadcasting deal, which gives the Premier League £8.3bn in TV rights, with £5.14bn of that coming from two domestic broadcasters, Sky and BT. The 71% increase on the previous deal was welcome news for clubs, players and many supporters. Clubs have larger sums to spend on players, who are earning bigger wages, and the beginning of a levelling-off effect is being seen within the league, as the extra income helps smaller clubs attract and keep a broader range of talent. Clubs are less reliant on matchday income and fans hope Continue reading "Who is paying for the Premier League’s bumper TV deal? Your local pub"

Football Supporters’ Federation warns against disruptive kick-off time changes

• Reports have suggested Premier League may add 7.45pm slot on Saturday
• FSF: ‘Too many games at times which make life difficult for match-going fans’ The Football Supporters’ Federation has fired a shot across the bows of broadcasters and the Premier League, warning them to stop tinkering with kick-off times or face the prospect of half-empty stadiums. Reports have suggested the Premier League has discussed the addition of a 7.45pm slot on Saturday evenings from the 2019-20 season, which would increase the number of live games when the next broadcasting deal is negotiated. Continue reading...

The English can stop sneering at Scottish football now | Kevin McKenna

Despite being awash with money, teams from south of the border can’t seem to succeed on the international stage

On a chill November evening in 2002, more than 10,000 Scots made the three-hour journey from Glasgow to England’s north-west to watch Celtic face Blackburn Rovers in a Uefa cup tie. These encounters with top-class Premiership outfits tend to come along once every five years or so, and often conclude with a reminder to English supporters and commentators alike that belonging to the richest league in the world doesn’t automatically confer class, style or a sense of decorum.

On that night nearly 15 years ago, Celtic dismantled a decent Blackburn side before finally outclassing them in a 2-0 victory that should have been 5-0. Later in the same competition, they would visit Anfield and take down a very good Liverpool side by the same score. Before the match at Ewood Park, Continue reading "The English can stop sneering at Scottish football now | Kevin McKenna"

More money, more football, but are we now reaching saturation point? | Jacob Steinberg

BT Sport has gambled on the Champions League with a new £1.18bn deal but could the competition’s predictability lead to more people switching off?Before this gets mistaken for a nostalgic lament about the good old days on ITV, it is worth pointing out that BT Sport has done a good job of broadcasting the Champions League since wrenching the rights from Sky in 2013, offering a slick, professional product that looks and feels the part. Lengthy analysis, access to every game, a warm as-it-happens goals show hosted by James Richardson and astute use of social media arguably represents value for money. Yet, despite all those advances, that nagging sense that people might be about to switch off won’t go away. There are few better bargaining chips than live sport, which is why BT has been accused of squeezing customers to fund its increasingly intense battle with Sky. The Continue reading "More money, more football, but are we now reaching saturation point? | Jacob Steinberg"

BT’s £1.2bn Champions League splurge is price of staying in Sky game

The telecoms group needed to win at all costs after a rocky year – though it may face a tougher battle over the Premier League BT is banking on its £1.2bn Champions League rights victory putting its business back on track after a torrid 12 months. A boost is needed after the financial and reputational damage of an accounting scandal at its Italian operation and the protracted battle with the industry watchdog over the future of its broadband division. On Monday BT renewed ownership of UK broadcast rights to Europe’s biggest football tournament but had to shoulder a hefty 32% price increase, or almost £100m extra per season, to fend off Sky and buy the games exclusively until 2021. But after suffering something of an annus horibilis Gavin Patterson, the BT chief executive, will consider that a price well worth paying.
Continue reading...

BT’s £1.2bn Champions League splurge is price of staying in Sky game

The telecoms group needed to win at all costs after a rocky year – though it may face a tougher battle over the Premier League BT is banking on its £1.2bn Champions League rights victory putting its business back on track after a torrid 12 months. A boost is needed after the financial and reputational damage of an accounting scandal at its Italian operation and the protracted battle with the industry watchdog over the future of its broadband division. On Monday BT renewed ownership of UK broadcast rights to Europe’s biggest football tournament but had to shoulder a hefty 32% price increase, or almost £100m extra per season, to fend off Sky and buy the games exclusively until 2021. But after suffering something of an annus horibilis Gavin Patterson, the BT chief executive, will consider that a price well worth paying.
Continue reading...