The Premier League has agreed to renew its £5billion domestic television deal in a move which provides greater financial certainty to clubs at all levels amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The English top flight sought and secured Government approval in principle to roll over its existing rights agreements with Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon Prime Video and BBC Sport for a further three years, through to 2025.
Under normal circumstances the rights would have been contested in an open tender, but the league was able to demonstrate “exceptional and compelling reasons” to the Government for it to agree to an exclusion order under the Competition Act and go ahead with a private sale.
The renewal of the deal means the Premier League’s current commitment of £1.5billion to the football pyramid over the three years of the next rights cycle can be maintained, with an additional £100m to be distributed over the next four years.
The deal is a huge boost to the Premier League, at a time when the value of broadcasting rights has generally been in decline around the world.
The league’s chief executive Richard Masters said: “The Premier League would like to express our gratitude to our broadcast partners for their continued commitment to the Premier League and support for the football pyramid.
“We are hugely appreciative of the Government agreeing in principle to allow this arrangement and for their continued support for the Premier League and the English game. Covid-19 has had a significant impact on football, and renewals with our UK broadcast partners will reduce uncertainty, generate stability and promote confidence within the football pyramid.
“We know that, once concluded, this will have a positive impact on the wider industry, jobs and tax revenues and will enable us to maintain and increase our existing solidarity and community financial commitments to the football pyramid for the next four years, even though we are yet to understand the full impact of the pandemic.
“It comes at an important time and will enable us to plan ahead with increased certainty against a more stable economic backdrop.”
The agreement means 200 matches a season will continue to be broadcast live – 128 on Sky, 52 on BT and 20 on Amazon.
One change from the previous agreement though means that if a team due to be involved in a 12.30pm Saturday match on BT is involved in a Champions League match on the Wednesday before, the domestic match will move to a 7.45pm Saturday slot instead.
Marc Allera, the chief executive of BT’s consumer division, said: “Throughout this difficult year the Premier League and broadcasters have all worked together to find pro-active solutions to ensure the Premier League, and the lower leagues, have a safe and secure way out of the pandemic.
“This in principle renewal of our broadcast rights is great for our viewers, but also helps to provide vital support for the broader football community that relies on the Premier League.
“The fantastic news for our viewers is that, once the deal is concluded, they will be able to continue to enjoy the Premier League alongside the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League exclusively live on BT Sport.”
A written ministerial statement to the House of Commons and the House of Lords from sports minister Nigel Huddleston said the Government was “content” that the Premier League’s request for an exclusion order had nothing to do with the European Super League proposals.
The English top flight’s ‘Big Six’ clubs announced themselves as founder members of the breakaway competition on April 18, but they had all withdrawn within 72 hours amid fan protests and Government pressure.
Huddleston said that Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng was “minded to” make an exclusion order under the Competition Act, but that the Government would like to consider representations from interested parties before making a final decision.
Streaming giants DAZN had been reported to be interested in bidding for UK Premier League rights, but declined to comment on Thursday when contacted by the PA news agency.