Sport Soccer

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Scudamore defends TV rights deal

The Premier League has sold television rights for the 2016-19 seasons for £5.136billion
The Premier League has sold television rights for the 2016-19 seasons for £5.136billion

Richard Scudamore has defended the Premier League as a British institution in the wake of selling domestic television rights for a staggering £5.136billion across just three years.

Sky and BT Sport have combined to hike up the Premier League's British screening costs by 70 per cent in a new deal to run from 2016 to 2019.

Three years ago the rights were sold for a combined total of £3.018billion, an average of £6.53m per game.

Sky has almost doubled its investment to retain five of seven packages, including the new Friday night slot, with the Premier League set to net around £113,000 a minute from domestic television revenue.

Chief executive Scudamore believes the Premier League is as much-loved across the globe as the BBC and the Royal Family, asserting the competition's right to sell to the highest bidder despite the astronomical sums.

"To my core, I believe this is a success story," said Scudamore.

"And I believe it's a great UK export, it attracts a whole lot of positive feelings about the UK.

"If you go and do any international survey, things like the Premier League, the BBC, the Queen: they are things that people feel are good about the UK.

"Our own Prime Minister is quite happy to travel the world and talk about what a good thing the Premier League is.

"And we're proud that our clubs and the league is looked at in that way.

"If you had your house and you were about to sell it tomorrow you would probably want to sell it for as much as someone was willing to pay for it.

"We have an asset here, clearly it's an asset that people value, and we've marketed it in a way and put it up for sale and people have paid what they've paid for it."

Sky will pay £4.176billion for the lion's share of the rights including the coveted Sunday evening slot, while BT Sport will pay £960million. BT Sport will have the Saturday evening package, however, instead of the Saturday lunchtime slot.

Boss Scudamore admitted Premier League bosses felt the meteoric rise in revenues would prove unsustainable the last time rights were sold, in 2012.

The Premier League will spend the majority of 2015 selling the competition's new global television rights, and the overall revenue could spiral beyond £8billion.

Scudamore still believes there is scope for further growth worldwide, but scotched talk of the Premier League surpassing the NFL as global sports' biggest broadcasting cash cow.

"The law of economics says you can't go on putting 70 per cent on ever-bigger numbers, you just can't do it, it's impossible," said Scudamore.

"And we actually thought it was probably impossible sitting here three years ago, but it's actually proven not to be.

"But there is a point where it has to become impossible.

"That doesn't mean to say, though, that the Premier League, when you add it all in on a global basis, can't continue to grow way beyond this particular deal.

"I think today we've probably sneaked past Major League Baseball, but believe you me, I don't think it is only a matter of time before we go past the NFL."

The Premier League remains confident this latest rights deal will not be derailed by Virgin Media's ongoing complaint with broadcast regulator Ofcom.

Scudamore admitted the Premier League will re-examine ticket prices but will not order clubs to make cuts.

"Anything the clubs get together and want to do, we would welcome," he said.

"The clubs know priority number one is to put on a show attractive enough to keep stadia full."

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