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Sky Sports renews live Premier League rights at 83% price increase

MUMBAI: UK pay TV service provider Sky has won the UK rights to 126 live Premier League matches a season from 2016-17 to 2018-19.

In a successful outcome to the Premier League’s tender process, Sky Sports was awarded five packs of live rights. Sky will pay £1.3 billion per year for each of the three years of the new agreement, representing an 83 per cent increase over the cost of the existing contract.

The new deal ensures that Sky Sports will be the only place to follow the biggest matches and stories throughout the Premier League season. Viewers will be able to rely on Sky Sports to bring them three times as many live matches as any other broadcaster, including the best match picks and the most-watched slots in the schedule. By securing the rights to matches on Friday evenings for the first time, Sky Sports will also bring viewers an entirely new way to start the weekend with live Premier League football.

The expanded schedule of live Premier League matches will be a key part of the unrivalled breadth of coverage offered by Sky Sports across seven channels. After 25 rights deals in 2014, and a new agreement for live rights to The Open golf championship from 2017, Sky has secured long-term visibility over its market-leading rights portfolio and future costs.

The key points of the new Premier League rights deal include:

  • More live matches than ever before, with 126 fixtures a season versus 116 under the existing contract
  • Live coverage on more days of the week, with matches on Friday evenings for the first time as well as Saturday afternoons, Sunday afternoons and Monday evenings
  • The best match picks, including 26 first picks and 31 second picks, meaning that Sky Sports will offer more of the biggest matches
  • Live coverage of every Premier League club at least four times a season
  • Rights to offer live coverage across a range of platforms, including online and mobile
  • Access to all 126 matches a season through the Sky Sports day pass and week pass on Now TV

The new Premier League deal follows Sky’s start to the financial year. During the three months to 31 December 2014, Sky added new customers in the UK and Ireland at the highest rate in nine years and sold more than one million subscription products. Group revenue rose by five per cent to more than £11 billion per annum and operating profit was up 16 per cent at £675 million in the first half of the year.

The price paid per annum is around £330 million more than analysts’ forecasts. Sky has a clear set of plans in place to fund the bid and deliver its financial plans in line with expectations. The company will work hard to minimise the impact of higher rights costs on customers, with the majority of the funding coming through substantial additional savings to be delivered by efficiency plans.

Sky Group CEO Jeremy Darroch said, “This is a good result and confirms that Sky is the unrivalled choice for sports fans. We went into the Premier League auction with a clear objective and are pleased to have secured the rights that we wanted.

“Our strong performance across the board gives us financial strength and flexibility. We have a clear plan to absorb the cost of the new Premier League deal while delivering our financial plans.”

Sky Sports MD Barney Francis said, “We are looking forward to bringing even more live Premier League football to viewers. Only Sky Sports will have the best match picks and the best slots so our viewers will be able to follow the biggest matches, the key head to heads and every club at least four times. No other broadcaster comes close.