The Premier League's latest tender process for the next broadcast rights deal has revealed some significant changes that will impact UK broadcasters and football fans alike. The number of live televised games will increase from 200 to 270 per season, providing more opportunities for fans to watch their favourite teams in action.
One of the key factors outlined in the tender process is the commitment to maintain the 3pm blackout for Saturday afternoon kick-offs. This tradition, which has been in place for many years, is designed to encourage fans to attend local football matches.
However, the new deal will also introduce a new TV slot. The 2pm kick-offs on Sundays, often reserved for English sides competing in the UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League that same week, will now be televised. This addition will contribute to the increased total number of games shown on TV.
Moreover, the new deal will include an extra round of midweek games, increasing from four to five.
Four live packages for bidding networks
The next broadcast rights cycle will offer four live packages available for bidding networks. These game packages, with between 42 and 65 matches, will be available to broadcasters for the next four years once the current deal is finished.
This marks the league’s first tender rights sale process since 2018, as the Premier League extended its pre-existing deal in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The current broadcast deal, set to expire at the end of the 2024-25 season, is worth over £5bn, making it the most lucrative TV rights deal in Europe.
Under the current deal, Sky Sports airs 128 matches per season, TNT Sports (formerly known as BT Sport) broadcasts 52 matches, while Amazon has access to 20 league games.
Potential new entrants
While the tender process is expected to attract Sky Sports, TNT Sports and Amazon to renew their contracts, the increased number of games could also attract new suitors.
DAZN Chief Financial Officer, Darren Waterman, has previously expressed interest in broadcasting league games in overseas markets on the streaming platform. This interest could extend to domestic rights if the offer of more live games becomes enticing.
Apple TV, which has been active in the live sports broadcasting market and is the exclusive MLS broadcast partner, could also potentially enter the bidding process.
The new broadcast rights deal promises to bring more live Premier League action to fans, while also potentially attracting new broadcasters to the mix. This could lead to a more diverse range of platforms for fans to enjoy the games, making the league even more accessible and commercially attractive.
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