Sunday 26 May 2019

Sky Sports the big winners in Irish Premier League TV rights deal - but Saturday 3pm games are moving

Vincent Kompany lifts the Premier League trophy
Vincent Kompany lifts the Premier League trophy
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Sky Sports have secured the rights to screen 128 Premier League games a season exclusively live in Ireland from 2019, but they have lost the deal to screen matches at 3pm on Saturdays.

Subscription channel Premier Sports will screen 33 Premier League games in the Saturday afternoon slot, with another 20 matches also being shown on the platform.

"There is huge appetite for the Premier League in Ireland and we are very pleased to have concluded this process which ensures more matches than ever before will be available live from 2019/20 onwards," said Premier League chief Richard Scudamore.

"We know that Sky Sports and BT Sport will continue to provide fantastic live-match broadcasts and programming for fans across the country, and we welcome Premier Sports as a new partner. We know they will make available high-quality coverage that will appeal to local fans."

There is an expectation that Premier Sports may now look to do a deal with one of the major television providers to ensure the games they have the rights to attract the biggest possible audience, with the shake-up in television rights also affecting the UK market.

Amazon Prime have bought the UK package Premier Sports have acquired for the Irish market, in a move that will send shock waves through Sky and BT Sport, who have dominated the British Premier League television market in recent years.

The deal with a streaming service for Premier League TV rights is an intriguing development, with Amazon adding top level football to a platform that will also include ATP world tour tennis next year, after they took that deal away from Sky Sports.

The extravagant price of Premier League TV deals have stretched the resources of Sky and BT Sport, so the arrival of a new player in the market could be viewed as a threat to their grip on the most watched league in world football. understands that the prospect of a global Premier League television deal could be discussed in the near future, with one rights holder owner working in partnership with the league to broadcast the matches around the world.

That could open the door for Facebook or Amazon to strike a deal that would change the way football is watched in the UK, with the spiralling cost of signing up for television packages seeing a boom in fans watching matches on illegal internet streaming services every weekend.

Following confirmation of the Amazon deal, the Premier League have been criticised on social media for adding a third network to their list of television subscribers, with fans now being asked to pay approaching €100-a-month to watch all live matches.

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