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...

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...

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...

BT and Sky sign landmark content-sharing deal

Sky Atlantic blockbusters and BT premium sports channels will be available to subscribers without them having to switch providers BT customers are to get access to all of Sky’s sport and entertainment channels, including Game of Thrones for the first time, in a landmark deal that could have ramifications for Premier League rights auction. The deal marks the end of nearly a decade-long dispute over carrying each other’s channels, as the two companies wrangled over commercial terms. Continue reading...

EFL’s extended deal with bookmaker draws criticism from campaigners

• Sky Bet to stream 18 live EFL games per season under new deal
• Gambling Watch UK and GambleAware express concernsThe English Football League’s decision to deepen its relationship with the bookmaker Sky Bet has drawn criticism from campaigners, who claim the deal is another step to “normalising” a practice that creates widespread social harm. In a deal the EFL described as “one of the longest and most significant partnerships in professional sport”, it has agreed to extend its relationship with Sky Bet by five years until the end of the 2023-24 season. The company will remain the title sponsor of the Championship, League One and League Two but will also acquire additional rights, including a licence to stream 18 matches per season on its website and broadcast live odds inside stadiums. Continue reading...

Sky Sports to replace numbered channels and slash prices in revamp

Broadcaster to launch themed channels for football, golf and cricket, with cheapest package costing £18 a month Sky is scrapping its numbered sports channels and replacing them with themed offerings focused on specific sports – led by football, golf and cricket – as it combats falling viewer numbers with a branding revamp and a cheaper viewing package. The retirement of Sky Sports 1,2,3,4 and 5 and the introduction of a new package two-thirds cheaper than current prices represents a major shakeup of the strategy that has made Rupert Murdoch’s Sky a pay-TV powerhouse. 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.
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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.
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Eric Bristow apologises for Twitter football sex abuse comments

Former darts champion, who has lost Sky Sports role, says it was ‘miswording’ to suggest victims were wimps The former world darts champion Eric Bristow has apologised for a number of offensive tweets he sent out in relation to the football sexual abuse scandal. Bristow, 59, was sacked by Sky Sports, where he had been a regular contributor to darts coverage since the early 1990s, after writing on social media: “Might be a looney but if some football coach was touching me when I was a kid as I got older I would have went back and sorted that poof out.” Continue reading...

Sky Sports to offer fans Premier League box set of highlights per club

• All 212 matches not shown live will feature in any time package
• Near live category has not become a threat to Match of the DayThe Premier League has completed the last piece in the jigsaw of its sale of domestic TV rights for the next three seasons, with Sky Sports planning to offer fans a “box set” of highlights of all their team’s matches that can be dipped into at any time. Under the deal for “near live extended highlights”, which covers all 212 Premier League matches not already shown live on television, the broadcaster will for the first time offer a dedicated section for each club featuring every match they have played from next season. Continue reading...









Sky and BT extend Scottish Premier League deal until 2020

Both broadcasters can show at least 30 top tier games per season and BT Sport will also feature six matches from play-offs Sky and BT have extended their deal with the Scottish Premier League for three years to 2020. The deal means both broadcasters can show at least 30 games from the top tier of Scottish football per season. BT Sport will also show up to top six matches from the Ladbrokes play-offs. Continue reading...









BT Sport to charge for top-flight European football from August

Broadcaster says customers will pay £5 per month for full coverage of Champions and Europa League matches unless they sign up for pay-TV bundle BT Sport has recruited Gary Lineker and Steven Gerrard to its on-screen team and announced it would start charging for top-flight European football from August. Set up to “give sport back to the people”, BT Sport will charge customers £5 per month for full coverage of Champions League and Europa League matches unless they sign up for pay-TV package. Continue reading...







BT Sport unveils Gary Lineker as face of Champions League coverage

• Match of the Day presenter to anchor channel’s coverage next season
• Steven Gerrard, José Mourinho and Rio Ferdinand named as punditsBT Sport have announced that Gary Lineker will anchor their coverage of the Champions League this season alongside current presenter Jake Humphrey. The former England striker and Match of the Day presenter was unveiled as the channel’s new face of European football at a press conference in east London on Tuesday, while Steven Gerrard, Chelsea manager José Mourinho and former England captain Rio Ferdinand will be regular pundits. Continue reading...







Sky Sports’ Champions League viewing dives in ‘worst year ever’ for audiences

As rival BT prepares to launch its own coverage, satellite giant stresses that tournament’s audiences are dependent on how well English teams fare
Sky’s coverage of the Champions League final between Barcelona and Juventus drew fewer than 500,000 viewers, as its sports chief complained this has been the worst season ever for audiences. Its coverage of the final on Saturday night drew an average of just 497,000 viewers, almost a third the audience it attracted for the 2014 final. Continue reading...







Inquiry launched into Sky Italia and Mediaset over Serie A football rights

Italian regulators’ inquiry centres on a deal hatched in June 2014 between the two rival broadcasters over rights to air matches Italian regulators have launched an investigation into possible collusion between rivals Sky Italia and Mediaset – the country’s two major broadcasters – in connection with the 2014 sale of Serie A football broadcasting rights. The Italian financial authority, the Guardia di Finanza, said it had conducted “inspections” in six locations in connection to the sale of television rights to the media groups owned respectively by Rupert Murdoch and Silvio Berlusconi, but declined to comment on the exact nature of the investigation. Related: More than 50 arrests made in Italy as part of football match-fixing inquiry Continue reading...