London (AFP) – The rights to show English Premier League matches domestically were sold Tuesday for £4.46 billion ($6.43 billion, 5.21 billion euros), with two live packages still to be sold.
Although the deal for 2019-2022 as it stands is down on the previous agreement, it still confirms the Premier League as the biggest money-spinner in the European leagues in terms of TV receipts — for example domestic rights for Spain’s La Liga for the three seasons from 2016/17 were sold for 2.65 billion euros.
The five Premier League packages of the seven to be sold have netted £700 million less than the total achieved in 2015, when 168 games were up for grabs.
Sky retained its position as the main broadcaster of EPL matches by winning four of the packages of television rights for 2019-22.
Sky, the Premier League’s main broadcast partner since the competition was established in 1992, will broadcast 128 out of 200 available games, including all fixtures on Fridays, Sundays and Mondays.
The other one of the packages sold so far has gone to BT Sport, a satellite rival of Sky.
With 40 more games a season still to be sold, that means the cost-per-game price is £9.3 million, down from the current £10.2 million, although Premier League officials have already sold some overseas rights at an increased price compared to previous television deals.
But the escalation in domestic rights, which had increases of 70 percent in 2012 and 2015, appears to be at an end.
There had been talk that global technology giants Amazon and Facebook might enter the fray but they remain on the outside for the time being, although the Premier League said Tuesday that “multiple bidders” were interested in the remaining two ‘simulcast’ packages.
“We are extremely pleased that BT and Sky continue to view the Premier League and our clubs as such an important part of their offering,” said Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore in a statement.
“Both broadcasters are fantastic partners for the Premier League and have a track record of making our competition available to fans across the country through their high-quality and innovative programming.
“We will now continue the sales process to deliver the best possible outcome for the remaining packages of rights in the UK and throughout the rest of the world.”
Meanwhile Sky UK chief executive Stephen van Rooyen said: “We continue to invest in content that our customers value and which complements our strategy to broaden our offer.
“Not only do we remain the home of Premier League football but also the home of top quality drama, entertainment, comedy and other sports.
“Our disciplined approach means we continue to have the flexibility to invest in each of these areas as we choose, underlining our position as Europe’s largest investor in content.”