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Premier League broadcast rights: commentary on the latest Sky and BT Sport deal

Posted on 21 February 2018

Last week, the Premier League sold its latest package of live TV football games to Sky and BT Sport for a reduced per-match rate. It also revealed a dilution of the broadcast rights, with the Premier League offering more games than ever before.

Commenting on this, Mishcon de Reya commercial lawyer Simon Leaf, who is also part of the firm's Sports group, said:

"While undoubtedly the Premier League and all those relying on the income that it is able to generate from selling the broadcast rights will be concerned that we have seen a decline in the amount being paid in the context of rising inflation, this is by no means a terrible situation.

"If a major tech giant, such as Facebook, is successful in winning even one of the two remaining packages, a three-way fight for all of the packages next time around is likely to lead to a resumption in the extraordinary growth seen in previous years. There's also the international sale of these rights to be finalised over the next year or so, which will likely more than make up for any domestic shortfall.

"But, nevertheless, the Premier League will be conscious of falling average viewing figures in recent seasons, which - alongside the rapid rise in popularity of e-sports among millennials - suggests the brand's value may have been diluted, particularly in the eyes of younger fans, as the Premier League looks to sell an increasing number of games to broadcasters each season."

Simon's commentary featured on the Sky News website and on the front page of City A.M..   

He was also interviewed on BBC Radio 4's The Media Show, which you can listen to here (from 19.35 minutes), and BBC Berkshire radio.