BSkyB has secured five of the six available television rights packages to show live Premier League football from 2010-13 for a hefty total of Ã‚Â£1.6 billion.
The company has eagerly snapped up the packages in a three-year deal that includes Sunday 1.30pm and 4pm kick-offs as well as a choice of other fixtures that are made available for broadcasters to select. The move will increase the number of live games live on Sky from 92 to 115 starting from the 2010/11 season.
BSkyB has been broadcasting English top-flight football since 1992 and has played a major part in the Premier League’s development over the last 17 years due to the vast sums of money that have been injected into the league by the company.
Sky Sports’ coverage of the league has also developed into more than just live match coverage. Programmes such as the now notorious ‘Soccer AM’ and the Sunday evening 30 minute round-up ‘The Last Word with Andy Gray’ have become essential weekly rituals for many football fans.
And whilst most fans will agree that Premiership players are grossly overpaid, the vast majority will also admit that Sky’s involvement with the league has raised the profile of the English game dramatically and has aided the EPL’s development into what is widely considered to be the best league of football in the world.
There are a total of six live Premier League TV packages available and with its purchase of five, Sky will screen 115 out of the 138 matches available. There will be an auction over the coming weeks for the last package that contains the remaining 23 games that Setanta currently holds the rights for.
Sky used to hold all six packages with 46 of the 138 matches being shown on their ‘PremPlus’ pay-per-view service, but Setanta purchased the rights for the first time last season.
The news of BSkyB’s spending comes in a week that saw ITV have to deal with over 1,500 phone calls from angry fans after a technical fault during their coverage of the FA Cup replay between Everton and Liverpool caused viewers to miss the only goal of the game.
Viewers up and down the country were stunned as a tic-tac advertisement interrupted live coverage of the game on Wednesday, only for the pictures to resume after Everton’s winning goal had been scored.
This season, for the first time, ITV and Setanta are broadcasting live FA Cup matches. The competition was previously shown on the BBC and Sky.
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