Big new Premiership television deal
Every so often predictions are made that the Premier League 'bubble' has burst, especially since the onset of the recession. The financial success of the Premiership is very much driven by its television deals and the latest one for the seasons from 2013-14 to 2015-16 exceeds all expectations. It even astounded Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore.
The amount raised is 70 per cent more than the present deal, £3.018bn, an increase of £1.25bn on the current package. Many analysts thought there would be an above inflation increase, but not of this magnitude.
It gives the Premier League £1 billion a year in television income, even before the overseas rights are factored in. These will be negotiated later in the year and are likely to increase. There has been speculation that a bid by Al Jazeera forced up the price and they may now be interested in overseas rights.
A significant development is that BT has secured the rights to broadcast 38 Premier League games each season while ESPN drops out of the picture. The telecoms company is going to launch a new football-focused channel to carry the games. However, their content will also be available on other platforms, including Sky.
BT secured two of the seven packages on offer, showing 28 Saturday lunchtime games, including the opening game of the season, and 10 matches taking place on bank holidays or midweek evenings. The deal represents a significant breakthrough for BT and should enable them to win new customers for their broadband service, not least the new and faster Infinity version now being rolled out.
BSkyB will continue to show the majority of matches, having secured the rights to 116 games per season. The total of 154 matches is 16 more than currently broadcast and more than 40 per cent of all top level matches.
Whether the extra money will be well spent remains to be seen. It could inflate players' wages even further and result in bigger commissions for agents. But Uefa's financial fair play regulations loom in the background with the threat of exclusion from the riches and prestige of the Champions League.