English Premier League sells TV rights to Sky, BT
The English Premier League announced the sale of domestic TV rights to BSkyB and BT for 3.018 billion pounds ($4.69 billion) in a record three-year deal on Wednesday, allowing Sky to extend its coverage of the world's most popular football league.
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore told a news conference that seven packages of live audio and visual rights for broadcast in Britain from the 2013-14 season to 2015-16 have been sold.
Scudamore said the 154 matches were divided between the two companies, with Sky - controlled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp - buying five packages containing 116 matches and BT acquiring two with 38 games.
The deal surpasses the current contract, which is shared between Sky and ESPN and worth 1.25 billion pounds ($1.95 billion), by 70 percent - a sign that English football continues to thrive despite the recession.
''We went to the market at the right time,'' Scudamore said. ''It was a very competitive process, which if you are selling is a very good thing.''
ESPN was left out of the deal. The broadcaster said after the announcement that it had ''made a strong bid that reflected the value of the rights to our business.''
In the last auction process, for 2010-11 to 2012-13, Sky bought five of six packages of live domestic TV rights for 1.623 billion pounds (now $2.5 billion). Irish-based Setanta bought the remaining package.