Starting with the 2013-14 season, football fans will no longer be able to watch Premier League matches via satellite broadcaster ESPN.
In deals finalised this evening, Sky secured the rights to 116 games per season between 2013-14 and 2015-16 while BT Vision won 38, including 18 of the first-choice fixtures, and ESPN failed to match the bidding for any of the available packages.
ESPN’s current offering can be accessed via a Sky box and cable providers, but BT Vision’s internet-based on-demand service is currently only available to those with both a BT broadband connection and a separate set-top box.
Asked if this was a potential hurdle to securing new customers, a spokesperson for BT Vision told RadioTimes.com “We will be looking to make matches available to as many people as possible and are considering various possible ways to deliver that content.”
She said games would be shown on a new “football-focused channel”.
BT Vision’s deal secures them 38 games for £246 million per season, approximately £6.5 million per game, while Sky is paying slightly more – £6.6 million per match – for 116 Premier League fixtures games in a deal totalling £760 million per year.
Over the course of the two agreements, the Premier League will bank £3.018 billion, a rise of £1.254 billion compared with the existing deal.
Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said the exhilirating climax to last season – which saw Manchester City snatch the title from local rivals Manchester United with an injury time winner – had contributed to the increase.
“We have just come off the back of a fantastic season and it has been good for us. We went to the market at the right time. It was a very competitive process which if you are selling is a very good thing,” said Scudamore.