BT Take Premier League TV Rights From ESPN
Thu 14th Jun 2012 | Television & Broadcasting
ESPN has lost its foothold on English Premier League football rights after BT became the surprise bidder in the latest round of bidding to show live games from the season after next.
Whilst BskyB retained its hold on the lion’s share of the games on offer, with a 116 in the bag, BT scooped two packages of 38 live encounters for its BT Vision service. The total money earned from the auction of live and delayed rights for the UK and Ireland stood at £3.018billion – over a billion pounds more than last time.
The besting of the Disney behemoth will come as a shock to industry watchers, who expected them to retain at least one package. It now leaves a big hole in their live strategy and it raises doubts as to whether ESPN will remain in the British pay-tv sports market in its current form.
The seven packages – five of 26 matches and two of 12 matches – totalling 154 matches were awarded on the following basis: BSkyB has secured packages B, C, D, E and F totalling 116 matches BT has secured packages A and G totalling 38 matches.
Whilst this is the first time BT has entered the live rights market, it has held delayed match rights for the EPL before.
Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore, said: "We welcome BT as a new Premier League broadcast partner.
“They are a substantial British company that is at the leading edge of technology and infra-structure development. They are clearly investing in quality content to use on their platforms and when combined with the reach and pull of Premier League football they will deliver new ways in which fans will be able to follow the competition.
“The Barclays Premier League continues to provide excellent football and enthralling drama as we saw last season. The value this drives for our rightsholders is evident and we are extremely pleased that this has been realised for our UK live rights.
“As ever, the security provided by broadcast revenues will enable our clubs to continue to invest in all aspects of their football activities and plan sustainably for the foreseeable future. This deal allows them to keep delivering what fans want; top quality football in some of world’s best club stadia and an increasing focus on and commitment to areas such as Youth Development.
“The continuing support of BSkyB for Premier League football is significant beyond the revenues delivered; the longevity and quality of their commitment has done much for the English game as a whole. We are very happy to see this relationship maintained for another three seasons.
“These are exciting times for both the football and media worlds and we should all be proud of the value both industries contribute to the UK culturally and economically.
“I would also like to place on record the Premier League’s thanks to the numerous other highly credible bidders that showed such interest in the live UK rights.”
The Saturday 3:00pm ‘closed window’ whereby Leagues and Associations do not televise matches at the traditional time football is played will remain in place.in order to protect attendance and participation at all levels of the game. This is compatible with both UK and EU Laws and detailed in UEFA Article 48
Posted by: Aaron Gourley
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