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TV DEAL: Premier League extends agreement with current broadcasters

The Premier League extends TV deal with Sky, BT, Amazon and BBC until the end of the 2024-25 season after worries an auction would have led to a fall in value.

Extending the current £5 billion deal was only achievable thanks to the UK government approving an exclusion order.

That allowed the Premier League to get around the normal rules of having to put the rights up for auction.

However, they will have to give £100 million to parts of the game deemed as ‘vulnerable’ as a result of the pandemic.

 

‘Exceptional and compelling reasons’

 

The 20 Premier League clubs unanimously agreed to this deal which is not surprising as there were reasonable fears that if the rights were to go up for auction, the price broadcasters were willing to pay would have fallen.

In a statement on being able to extend the deal, the Premier League said, "In light of the damaging impact of the Covid-19 pandemic throughout the English football pyramid, the Premier League was able to demonstrate to Government exceptional and compelling reasons for the Exclusion Order.”

Fans of those clubs lower down the pyramid will have seen a global pandemic create an even thinner tightrope between financial stability and serious problems.

They can see this extension as some positive news thanks to the government’s insistence that £100 million be given to help ‘vulnerable’ areas of UK’s number one sport.

EFL clubs in League One and Two as well as those in the National League and women’s teams are all set to benefit over the next 4 years.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said, “"Covid-19 has had a significant impact on football, and renewals with our UK broadcast partners will reduce uncertainty, generate stability and promote confidence within the football pyramid.”

 

Raw deal for fans?

 

However, one controversial element of the new deal is around BT Sport’s traditional lunchtime 12:30pm slot.

This season, the likes of Jurgen Klopp, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Pep Guardiola have bemoaned the broadcaster for picking their teams to play in that slot following Wednesday Champions League games.

BT want to appease that by moving this game to a 19:45 kick-off should one or both of the teams playing be involved in a Wednesday Champions League game.

However, away fans will find this means travelling back a lot more tricky and, crucially, a lot more expensive should it be by public transport.

The Saturday lunchtime slot has been a regular feature of the English football calendar for the best part of two decades so this latest move feels a little unnecessary.

 

‘Gratitude’

 

As the Premier League extends the TV deal until 2025, Richard Masters described the broadcasters as ‘excellent partners’ and was keen to acknowledge his thanks for agreeing the deal.

“The Premier League would like to express our gratitude to our broadcast partners for their continued commitment to the Premier League and support for the football pyramid.

“It comes at an important time and will enable us to plan ahead with increased certainty against a more stable economic backdrop.

“Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon Prime Video and BBC Sport are excellent partners and provide fantastic coverage and programming to bring our competition to fans in the UK.”

 

An end to all live games?

 

The new deal is expected to bring a return to the 200 out of 380 live games being shown live on television.

Currently, due to fans being unable to attend grounds, all Premier League matches are broadcast on TV.

However, with plans to bring fans back in full capacity by the start of next season, the TV deal will revert back to how it was pre-pandemic.

This could lead to a rise in piracy as people aim to have access to the same level of football they had during the past year.

If the 3pm blackout returns, it could force fans who are priced out to watch illegally online.

In a time where the Premier League renewed their TV deal because of money worries, maybe they could find a way to monetise games not shown on television.


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