The Premier League have invited broadcasters to bid for domestic UK broadcast rights for the 2013/14-2015/16 football seasons.
The Premier League say that 154 matches will be shown live on TV each season from 2013/14-2015/16 more than currently broadcast and more than 40% of all top-level matches. The extra 16 live games comes as matches are moved away from Saturday 3pm kick-off times, due to Europa League involvement or police advice.
The rights put out to tender include :
•Live rights to a total of 154 matches – split into seven packages.
•A Free-to-Air Highlights package – including ‘catch-up’ rights.
The live rights are split into seven packages – five of 26 games and two of 12 games. The maximum number of games any broadcaster is allowed to acquire is 116 games.
A Premier League statement said : “This creates a more attractive and compelling offering for both broadcasters and fans; whilst allowing the continued protection of the Saturday 3pm ‘closed window’ and minimizing further displacement of Premier League fixtures,”.
A separate sales process will be conducted for the other packages including :
•Two “Near Live” long form packages each containing 226 matches; one for linear and the other for on-demand exploitation.
•An Internet-based Clips package for all 380 matches.
Sky Sports currently enjoy dominance in the pay TV football market holding the rights to 115 live games per season whilst ESPN screen 23 live matches. Some commentators have suggested that Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera could express an interest in live UK Premier League rights after recently outbidding Canal Plus for rights to French domestic football. The BBC are current rights holders of the free-to-air highlights package.