What price a bid for Premier League rights by the technology giants?

January 25, 2018  | Subscribers Only

Tim Westcott Tim Westcott Director – Research and Analysis, Programming, IHS Markit
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Bids for TV rights to the English Premier League - among the most highly-prized in the world - are due in next month. Will global technology players including Amazon, Apple and Facebook bid for rights against the incumbents Sky and BT, who are paying £5.1 billion ($7 billion) over the current three-year contract? The current price tag for UK and Ireland rights is £10.19 million ($15.1 million) per game - a big call even for a deep-pocketed technology company.

Furthermore, the rights form the keystone of Sky and BT’s predominantly linear pay TV businesses which operate in just two territories, while Amazon, Facebook and the others are targeting a global market via the internet.

It has been reported that the Premier League has set a reserve price on the packages. This could provide a way in for one of the new players (who would have been in regular contact with the league in the lead-up to the auction), or mean that the League or its 20 club members offering some matches direct-to-consumer.

Highlights:

  • The deadline for bids for domestic Premier League rights for the three seasons from 2019/20 is 8 February. No single buyer will be permitted to secure all seven live packages
  • Live rights are currently held by Sky and BT in the UK and Ireland. Rumours are already swirling about whether global technology players including Amazon, Apple and Facebook will bid
  • Sky and BT are currently paying an average of $15.1 million per game. Premier League rights are a vital part of their pay TV businesses in the UK and Ireland
  • An agreement between the two to distribute one another’s channels on their platforms from 2019 (when the new PL deal will come into effect) has removed one key dynamic from the bidding process
  • It has been reported that the Premier League has set a reserve price on the packages which could provide a way in for one of the new players or mean that the 20 Premier League clubs offer some matches direct-to-consumer
  • Competitive bidding clearly tends to drive up the cost of sports rights. The biggest percentage increase was in 1997-01, when Sky hiked its payment by 211%
  • The current 2016-19 contract round saw the biggest increase since the ‘no single buyer’ rule came in, with a 70% increase in overall bids
     

Tim Westcott

Director – Research and Analysis, Programming, IHS Markit

Mr. Tim Westcott is a director of research and analysis for Programming at IHS Markit.

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