What BT Sport and Sky Sports' TV Premier League rights deal means for the armchair football fan
BT Sport and Sky Sports have shelled out a cool £4.464 billion between them for five of the seven Premier League rights packages for three seasons of matches from 2019.
But what does this mean for you, the armchair viewer?
Should you cancel your BT subscription post-haste. Is it time to tear your Sky dish from the roof and use it as a frisbee? Or, do you sink back into your armchair, with your head in your hands, and keep on giving your hard-earned cash to these two sports broadcasting behemoths?
Well, the first thing to know is that subscribers of Sky and BT no longer have to either fork out for two subscriptions or choose one.
Sky Sports subscribers
Sky have claimed four of the five packages to have been sold already this week, which adds up to 128 games a season from Friday evenings to Monday nights. That's two more games a season than it has in the current three-year deal.
The company will continue to offer its unrivaled Sunday afternoon coverage - 32 games at 2pm and another 32 at 4.30pm, with 19 of the weekends’ best games at that later slot.
Sky have also taken the 5.30pm slot on Saturday afternoons from BT and will put 15 top games on then, which means Sky will have the biggest match of the week every weekend of the season.
What's more, Sky will get 24 games it can either show at 7.30pm on Fridays or 8pm on Mondays, and eight games in a new Saturday prime-time slot of 7.45pm.
BT Sport subscribers
It’s much of a muchness as far as BT Sport subscribers are concerned. The broadcaster will bring back its old 12.30pm slot on Saturday instead of its current offering at 5.30pm.
Unlike Sky, BT can add more matches, and are still interested in the two packages still available – two lots of entire matchdays, all shown simultaneously, one on a bank holiday and a midweek evening, and the other on two midweek evenings.
Premier League Executive Chairman Richard Scudamore said: “We are extremely pleased that BT and Sky continue to view the Premier League and our clubs as such an important part of their offering.
“Both broadcasters are fantastic partners for the Premier League and have a track record of making our competition available to fans across the country through their high-quality and innovative programming.
“To have achieved this investment with two packages of live rights remaining to sell is an outcome that is testament to the excellent football competition delivered by the clubs.
“It provides them with certainty and will underpin their continued efforts to put on the most compelling football, invest sustainably in all areas, and use their popularity and reach to have a positive impact on the sport and beyond.
“We will now continue the sales process to deliver the best possible outcome for the remaining packages of rights in the UK and throughout the rest of the world.”
Two broadcast rights packages are still up for grabs, with a number of interested bidders.
Amazon are believed to be interested in acquiring the rights to Premier League football, which would be a first for the game.