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Sky wins 75% of Premier League rights for record £4.2bn

Tuesday, February 10th 2015 by Dean Reilly

Sky Sports and BT have secured the rights to televised Premier League matches for the next three seasons as part of a £5.13bn deal, it was announced today.

The broadcasters were named as the winners in the Premier League TV rights auction, each securing a share of the 168 live matches on offer.

Sky TV secured 126 matches, an increase on the 116 matches won in the previous auction.

BT secured the rights to 42 games, after previously broadcasting 38 matches per season.

The rights auction offered a record 168 live matches to broadcasters, up from the 154 games available in the 2013-16 seasons. Discovery Channel and beIN Sport were also bidding for broadcasting rights that cover the 2016-2019 seasons.

Bidding included the rights for up to 10 matches on Friday nights. However, the timing of these weekday games has drawn criticism from supporters groups about difficulty in attending matches – especially for away fans who may struggle to reach the games.

Broadcasters bid for up to seven packages, which each contained up to 26 games with different kick-off days and times.

Sky secured the largest number of possible games – a maximum of five packages and 126 games. This equates to 75% of televised matches.

Some football experts wrongly predicted that BT would play a less active role in the latest auction following the recent £12.5bn purchase of mobile network EE, as well as the £900million deal to show three years of Champions League matches.

'Out of control'

The rights auction results came less than two weeks after John Whittingdale, head of the House of Commons culture, media and sport select committee, told Cable.co.uk that the amount of money bid for Premier League broadcast rights is “out of control”.

He said: “I don't actually think it's been particularly good for the game because it's all flowing straight into players' salaries.”

The rights announcement was made in spite of calls by Virgin Media to pause the process and allow an investigation into whether the auction breached UK and EU competition law.

The broadcaster filed an ‘application for interim measures’ asking Ofcom to temporarily halt the auction, however the process continued as planned after the regulator rejected the request.

The previous auction of UK TV rights, held in 2012, earned the Premier League £3bn. This was a 67% rise compared to the 2009 auction price of £1.78bn.

Earnings for international TV rights for the last three seasons generated approximately £5.5bn for the Football Association.

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