Premier League triggers scramble for lucrative TV rights
Published May 4 2012, 09:24 BST | By Andrew Laughlin
© Rex Features / olfgang Weinhaupl / WestEnd61
The Premier League has triggered a multi-million pound scramble for its highly lucrative UK television rights.
Yesterday, an Invitation to Tender was issued for parties interested in acquiring the UK audio visual rights for the seasons 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16.
A total of 154 matches will be shown live on TV each season from 2013/14, 16 more than currently broadcast.
The extra 16 games come as matches are shifted away from 3pm kick-offs due to European ties, or due to police advice.
The Premier League does not allow 3pm kick-offs to be shown live on television as it wants to encourage attendance at games.
Live rights will be split into seven packages, while a highlights package will be protected for free-to-air, typically going to the BBC for Match of the Day
The live rights are split into five packages of 26 matches and two packs of 12 games. No single buyer is allowed to acquire more than 116 games.
"This creates a more attractive and compelling offering for both broadcasters and fans; whilst allowing the continued protection of the Saturday 3pm 'closed window' and minimising further displacement of Premier League fixtures," said the Premier League in a short statement
Currently, Sky holds the majority of live TV rights, and ESPN holds the remainder. They paid £1.6 billion for their current packages.
These two broadcasters are expected to bid again, but they are likely to face a challenge from the growing Al Jazeera network.
However, another factor could be whether emerging connected TV platforms look to acquire the lucrative rights to boost their services, following previous speculation that US tech giants Apple and Google could be interested
These firms could be more interested in another sales process to be run of two "near live" long-form packages, containing 226 matches - one for linear and the other for on-demand exploitation.
There will also be an "internet-based clips package" offered in the auction for all 380 matches each season. The league said that both the live and "near live" packages "will be available for exploitation on a technology neutral basis".> Netflix unlikely to bid for Premier League TV rights> Apple, Google influence worries broadcast TV industry