Sky and BT Sport Retain EPL Rights; Amazon to Pick up the Rest?

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The English Premier League (EPL), the second most lucrative sports franchise in the world behind the NFL, has announced that incumbent domestic rights holders BT Sport and Sky have regained the bulk of live TV coverage.

Both operators will be breathing a sigh of relief that the prize sport asset has not been usurped by a digital rival. (Excecutives from both Sky and BT Sport will be speaking at Streaming Forum in London on 27 February.)

However, with the sale of two new simulcast packages still to be announced the door is open for a digital player, widely believed to be Amazon, to participate for the first time.

The pay TV operators paid a combined £4.464 billion ($6.43bn) which is less than the £5.14bn ($7.1bn) paid between them for the last 3-year tranche, but the total is still on course to net the EPL a record amount.

The deal means that Sky will host 128 matches a season from the 2019-20 season up to and including 2021-22, and it includes a new set of eight fixtures per season on Saturday evenings, the first time the EPL has scheduled live matches at this primetime slot.

Sky paid £1.193 billion ($1.655 billion) per season overall, while BT Sport has landed only one package of 32 matches for £885 million ($1.2bn).

Of the seven rights packages totalling 40 matches a year, two remain. These games, played on over a holiday or a midweek, could be broadcast simultaneously.

The BBC retained highlights to EPL matches, paying £211 million to show coverage on Match of the Day, as well as digitally and across a range of other magazine shows.

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