The amount of money BT Consumer has spent on football rights in the past has been used as a stick to beat the provider with, so the latest round Premier League rights announced this afternoon is going upset a good number of people.
Some £5.136 billion was spent on seven packages of content, five secured by Sky and the remaining two by BT Sport. This represents a large increase of £2 billion on the cost of the existing contracts and shows the degree of competition between Sky and BT to secure content that generates revenue from both sales to pubs and clubs and secures on-going subscriptions to their TV or broadband services.
Sky is saying the deal has strengthened their position with the rights to broadcast 126 live Premier League matches in the 2016/2017 to 2018/2019 seasons, and for the first time rights to Friday evening matches. The rights also stretch beyond broadcast TV to online and mobile access.
The money Sky is spending on the TV rights makes the FTTP trial they are working on in York look like small change now. Breaking the Sky dominance of sports broadcasting in the UK is seen as something that needs to be done, but given the anger expressed over the sums BT is spending to try and achieve this one wonders if BT is the vehicle to do this, and if it is not BT then who could step in?
Update 6pm The releases from BT and Sky carry more detail, namely BT will have an extra four live matches per season, 42 now at a cost of £7.26m per game, an increase of 18%. Sky is paying £1,392 million per year for access to 126 live games, which is £11m per game an increase of 83% compared to the existing contract.