5The Guardian, LONDON, England, By Paul MacInnes The Premier League has agreed a new deal with Sky and TNT Sports in which the competition will receive £6.7bn over four years for its UK television rights.
In a swift resolution to what had been a highly anticipated process, the Premier League has renewed terms with its trusted broadcast partners. The deal, which runs from the 2025-26 season, will effectively keep its revenues stable although the number of live games is set to grow substantially.
Sky has secured four of the five packages on sale, meaning a minimum of 215 live matches, including all 10 fixtures on the final day of the season. TNT will screen 52 matches, while Match of the Day will continue after the BBC bought the rights to a weekly highlights package.
For the first time, all matches outside of Saturday 3pm kick-offs will be broadcast live in the UK. There will also be more midweek matchdays where games are shown simultaneously and fans can choose which to watch. This expansion of available content, and extension of the terms of the contract (with deals previously agreed over three-year periods), have enabled the Premier League to achieve what it calls “the largest sports media rights deal ever concluded in the UK”.
The deal will be seen as reinforcing the Premier League’s status as the world’s most successful domestic football competition. Despite securing growth in its annual revenue from domestic rights of just 4%, below the current levels of inflation, the deal is more than double the value of the agreement struck recently by Italy’s Serie A.
It also comes at a time of increased speculation over the future of broadcast rights, with some media companies stepping back on spending. Tech companies have meanwhile shown a reluctance to step into the void. Amazon lost its rights to Premier League games in the current auction, having secured a cut-price deal to show games in 2019. One other predicted digital challenge, from the broadcaster Dazn, also failed to materialise.
One other consequence of the expanded Premier League deal may be on the Saturday 3pm blackout. One of the longstanding arguments against televising games at this time has been the need to maintain scarcity to keep up demand for the live product. A growth in live matches of more than 25% is likely to test that argument and comes at a time when the UK government has got behind proposals to allow the Women’s Super League to broadcast live matches at that time.
Richard Masters, chief executive of the Premier League, said: “As longstanding and valued partners, Sky Sports and TNT Sports are renowned for consistently delivering world‑class coverage and programming. We have enjoyed record audiences and attendances in recent seasons, and we know that their continued innovation will drive more people to watch and follow the Premier League.
“The outcome of this process underlines the strength of the Premier League and is testament to our clubs, players and managers who continue to deliver the world’s most competitive football in full stadiums, and to supporters, who create an unrivalled atmosphere every week.”
Dana Strong, the group chief executive of Sky, said: “This is a fantastic result for Sky customers, who will see a significant increase in the number of matches from the most iconic league in the world.
“We are proud of our long history with the Premier League and look forward to delivering more engagement, entertainment, and innovation to the end of the decade. Sky is the undisputed home for sport fans in the UK.”