What the Premier League TV deal means for subscribers
How customers of BT Sport and Sky Sports are affected.
With 160 of the 200 available live games a season bagged by BT and Sky, how is the picture looking for the Premier League’s army of armchair supporters?
Here, Press Association Chief Sports Reporter Matt Slater explains when fans will need to take charge of the remote control.
Sky Sports subscribers
Relax, your direct debits have been used to good effect and there is no urgent need for the company to raise them, either.
The company has claimed four of the five packages to have been sold already this week, a haul that adds up to 128 games a season from Friday evenings to Monday nights, two more a season than it has in the current three-year deal.
The cornerstone of the Sky Sports package remains Sunday afternoons – 32 games at 2pm and 32 more at 4.30pm, with 19 of the weekends’ best games at that later slot.
Nearly half of those early Sunday games will be second picks, too, so Sky can create big double-header days if it chooses, particularly over the festive period and later in the season.
But Sky has also taken the 5.30pm slot on Saturday afternoons from BT and will put 15 first-pick games on then, which means Sky will have the top game every weekend of the season.
On top of that, the broadcaster got 24 games it can either show at 7.30pm on Fridays or 8pm on Mondays, and eight games in a new Saturday prime-time slot of 7.45pm, which will either cause fights or drive sales of Sky Multiscreen.
BT Sport subscribers
It’s as you were, in that the telecom giant is reverting to its old 12.30pm slot on Saturday, a change from the current offering at 5.30pm.
The majority of these games should be good, too, as 20 of them will be second picks. There will, however, be a few for the committed and connoisseurs as 12 of them will be fifth-choice games.
NEWS: @btsport will continue to show live @premierleague football until 2022!— BT Sport (@btsport) February 13, 2018
✅ Premier League
✅ UEFA Champions League
✅ Emirates FA Cup
✅ UEFA Europa League
Read more here 👉 https://t.co/HTnEDlwTTW pic.twitter.com/AhbHurCF6Z
Unlike Sky, BT can add a few more games, too, and it has said it is still interested in the two packages still available – two lots of entire matchdays, all shown simultaneously, one on a bank holiday and a midweek evening, and the other on two midweek evenings.
As it already does something similar with its midweek European nights, BT is the obvious home for at least one of these packages. The other one? Well, the clubs and league really hoped Amazon would join the fray this time and perhaps it will try one of these as an experiment/shot across the bows of BT and Sky.
There is one other hugely important thing – subscribers of both BT and Sky no longer have to choose or shell out for two subscriptions.
In December, in a relatively under-reported announcement, the two companies buried the hatchet and agreed to offer each other’s channels to their respective customers. You will pay, of course, but sports fans will only have to pay for the sport they want, as opposed to the full bundles.
That deal – or truce, really – was the clearest indication that the ‘Wild West’ days of the Premier League’s domestic rights deals appear to be over, which is great news for shareholders in BT and Sky, if not football agents.
The latter, however, can console themselves in the fact there appears to be plenty of upside left in the overseas rights market.