BT and Sky in £84.3m 'near live' rights deal

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The Independent Football

British Telecom entered the Premiership TV market yesterday when it bought the "near live" rights to 242 games per season from 2007 to 2010 in a joint deal with Sky. The agreement will net the Premiership £84.3m, just weeks after its record £1.7bn sale of live rights to Sky and Setanta for the same period.

Under the "near live" deal, fans will be able to watch games on broadband for the first time via a new BT broadband television service, BT Vision, which is being launched this autumn. It is BT's first foray into television, albeit as a platform, not a broadcaster.

Premiership games from 2007 will be available, shortly after they have finished, via television or computer to BT broadband customers, with a match-by-match or seasonal fee. The cost has yet to be decided.

Sky will show 92 live matches a season between 2007-10, with Setanta screening the other 46. Sky will also show the 242 "near live" games as they do now, with footage of one Saturday afternoon game at 8.30pm and the rest at 10pm.

"The ability to watch matches in long form soon after they have been played clearly appeals to fans," the Premier League's chief executive, Richard Scudamore, said. "With both BT and BSkyB securing the rights, access and choice will increase as both companies use their technological expertise to deliver Premier League action to their customers."