Scudamore considers TV rights sale
The Premier League are actively considering selling their next set of TV rights across the whole of Europe rather than just Britain, chief executive Richard Scudamore disclosed.
Scudamore, who also confirmed they would have no option but to sell the rights to Al Jazeera should they outbid Sky and meet all the criteria, said PL officials were deciding whether selling the rights on a pan-European basis would provide more income and protection.
A European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling on landlady Karen Murphy's case stated they must not give "broadcasters territorial exclusivity on a member state basis", and Scudamore said: "We have two scenarios we are weighing up. One of the implications of the ECJ decision is that we are still working on whether we might actually sell rights on a pan-European basis."
He continued: "We are still actually deliberating whether we should sell on a territory by territory basis, or whether with what's happened post-ECJ with the freedom of movement it's actually more applicable and you would actually get better protection or a better return if you sold on a pan-European basis."
Al Jazeera are expected to rival Sky for the dominant position as the domestic broadcaster in Britain, and ESPN are also likely to bid for some packages when the rights go out for tender, which is expected to be during the next three months.
Sky have held the majority of the domestic packages during all 20 years of the Premier League's existence and though Scudamore said loyalty counted for a lot they were bound to abide by competition regulations - and that means selling to the highest bidder.
Industry experts have speculated that Al Jazeera's financial clout, which has already seen the Middle East-based broadcaster wrest the French league rights from Canal Plus, could provide a serious threat to Sky.
Scudamore added: "Loyalty counts in many senses. But, remember, our current arrangements - and I see no reason why our future arrangements won't have to be - are regulated, and are regulated heavily.
"Our packages are put out into the open market and we have to have an open tender for those packages. We have to sell to the highest compliant bidder.
"Whilst, of course, we have a huge regard and respect and Sky's made a fantastic impact on our business, ultimately whatever umbilical cord there might be as an ongoing, working, commercial relationship, that gets severed once that tender gets issued. There's nothing they can do other than be the best bidder to win those rights."