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Sky pays bumper £4.2 billion to show 126 live Premier ties


Chief Executive of Premier League Richard Scudamore

Chief Executive of Premier League Richard Scudamore

Chief Executive of Premier League Richard Scudamore

PAY-TV group Sky has agreed to pay £4.2 billion to show 126 live English Premier League matches a season from 2016 to 2019, smashing analysts' forecasts to beat fierce rival BT to the best games.

After one of the most high-profile broadcast auctions of recent times, the Premier League said that Sky had won five of the seven rights packages, including the most popular Sunday afternoon matches.

With BT paying £960m pounds to show 42 games a season, the two companies will shell out a combined £5.2 billion over three years, well above the £4 billion analysts had expected and a 68 per cent rise on the current contract.

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore said he was surprised by how much the matches had fetched, but he noted that the game was the beneficiary of the two media giants using football to draw and retain customers on their platforms for TV and broadband internet.

"These are huge companies doing huge things in a market that has gone way beyond football," said Scudamore.

Sky, which is 39 percent-owned by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox, has built its business around offering exclusive programming such as premium sports and drama to customers who it seeks to tie in to combined telephony and broadband packages. But it has faced a far greater challenge in recent years, since the deep-pocketed BT copied its business model by buying up broadcast rights to attract customers to its new superfast broadband platform.

The 169-year-old telecoms company had already ramped up the pressure on Sky by winning the right to show all the live European Champions League matches for three years from the 2015/16 season, forcing Sky to up its game in the English auction to retain its position as a leading sports broadcaster.

Scudamore said the League had received a broad interest in its rights but would not say who else had bid to show the games, which feature world-class players.

After three days of bidding, Sky won the right to show matches on Sunday afternoons and early Saturday games, while BT will show Saturday evening matches.

What the new £5.136billion Premier League TV deal means:

p£5.136billion will be paid for television rights to show 504 Premier League games from 2016 to 2019.

pEach match will cost the broadcasters £10.2million per match or around £113,000 per minute.

pThe importance of Premier League football to Sky is shown by the fact it will pay £4.176billion for five of the seven packages for the 2016-19 seasons, up 82 per cent.

pBT Sport will pay £960million for two packages, up 30 per cent.

pLast year the top club in the Premier League earned £95million and bottom-side Cardiff £62million. If the overseas TV rights increase by the same percentage as the UK rights then the bottom club will earn around £99million a season and the top club a whopping £156million.