TV bidding war starts for Premier League

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The Independent Football

The television bidding war will now begin in earnest after broadcasters were yesterday given a month to tender their offers to screen live Premier League football matches from 2007-08. BSkyB's 13-year monopoly on showing live games was broken when League officials this week committed to ensuring no single broadcaster could buy rights to all of them.

Now - with seven years of discussion between the League and the European Commission having come to a head - broadcasters have been handed a deadline of 27 April to submit their bids.

Terrestrial television companies will battle it out with their satellite counterparts as well as mobile-phone giants and broadband providers.

The Premier League chief executive, Richard Scudamore, said: "Companies can bid for all the packages but can only buy five, in which case if they win all six they will have to drop one."

The League has split the games into six packages - each of 23 games due to be screened at different kick-off times. Each package has been given sufficient weight to stop any one bidder buying all the high-profile matches in any given week.