£1.78bn: Record Premier League TV deal defies economic slump

The sighs of relief were audible in Porsche dealerships from Wilmslow to Berkeley Square last night after the Premier League confirmed it had agreed TV deals worth a record £1.782bn with BSkyB and Setanta for its next tranche of live British rights.

What flows into the top echelon of the English game tends to flow straight back out into the players' bank accounts but nobody can dispute that £1.782bn was up there with the best results of an intriguing season.

So up it floats again, the Premier League balloon, defiantly refusing to burst even in the harshest economic climate. English club football will continue to pay the best wages, attract the best players, and be the most successful, on and off the pitch.

It was announced earlier in the week that Sky had won the auction for four of six packages of rights available. Yesterday provided confirmation of the price paid, plus news that Sky had won one of the two remaining packages, and thus five of the six 23-game packages altogether.

Thus Sky's schedule of games will increase from 92 to 115 per season in each of the three years from 2010 to 2013 inclusive. Sky paid £1.623bn for its rights, or £4.7m per game on average, a similar per game fee to what it paid last time. Setanta, which currently has two packages, won just one package this time, Package D, which comprises mainly Saturday games at 5.15pm.

The Ireland-based broadcaster paid £159m for those rights. With 69 games over three years, that equates to a relative bargain of £2.3m per game, or less than half what Sky has paid, but similar to what it paid last time.

The Disney-owned American sports giant ESPN was also involved in the auction, albeit unsuccessfully. ESPN took the unusual step last night of confirming it had been a losing bidder.

A spokesman said: "We can confirm that we did bid for Premier League rights and we are therefore disappointed in the outcome. But we were pleased to be at the table and we would like to congratulate Sky and Setanta." The pecking order of winners and losers among the broadcasters will take a while to fathom. Sky has increased its stranglehold on the game, but has paid top dollar. This shows football remains central to Sky's business model.

What is doubtful is how seriously ESPN contested the bidding process. With Setanta able to snap up Package D for just £159m, ESPN cannot have tried too hard.

It seems possible that Sky went all out for all six packages, knowing that under EU law it could only win a maximum of five. And it is plausible that Setanta and ESPN, both less bullish than Sky in the credit crunch, bid relatively low, believing Sky would probably win four packages, and five at most because of the EU constraints.

And Setanta therefore won its package almost by default because its lowish bid was higher than ESPN's lowish bid. While Setanta has saved itself more than £200m in outlay compared to the £392m it spent for two packages last time, it must have concerns about keeping viewers with just a sixth of the live League games – as opposed to a third – in its portfolio from 2010.

On the flip side, Setanta now has England matches, the FA Cup, top-level golf, big-name boxing and other content to attract subscribers. Having built a decent customer base, it will be hopeful of maintaining it.

The Premier League's chief executive, Richard Scudamore, said: "The Barclays Premier League is a fantastic competition. The continued investment in playing talent and facilities made by the clubs is largely down to the revenue generated through the sale of our broadcast rights.

"The live UK rights are the largest contribution to the revenues we distribute centrally to the clubs and this deal gives them the stability to plan and invest in the most important aspect of our business – the football – everything else flows from that."

If many people are still scratching their heads about how the Premier League has bucked the recession, a simplistic analysis of the numbers might shed a little light on how it achieved it. In short: football is good business for Sky.

Of Sky's nine million-plus customers, around five million of them pay for sport content including football, with "sports viewers", for want of a better term, putting some £2.5bn in Sky's coffers each year, albeit for more than just football.

In addition, pubs and clubs pay huge sums collectively to Sky for licences to show Sky games. Estimates vary from £216m to £367.5m or more per year, depending on who you listen to.

Crudely speaking, sports-related business earns Sky approaching £3bn a year. And Sky will now pay £541m a year for the Premier League. Do the maths.

In the money: Breaking down a bonanza for English game's top clubs

*Premier League live British TV rights 2010-13: who got what, and how much (all packages 23 matches)?

BSkyB (paid £1.623bn) won rights to: Package A: 23 matches shown at 16:00 on Sundays

Package B: 23 matches shown at 13:30 on Sundays

Package C: Minimum of 12 matches at 20:00 on Monday, the rest either at 13:30 on Sunday or 17:15 on Saturday or other times

Package E: 23 matches shown at 1245 on Saturdays

Package F: Seven to 13 matches on midweek evenings/bank holidays, 10 to 16 at 12:45 on Saturday and 16:00 on Sundays

Setanta (paid £159m) won rights to: Package D: Minimum of 18 matches at 17:15 on Saturday, the rest either at 13:30 on Sunday, 20:00 on Monday or other times

Total 2010-13 income from live British rights: £1.782bn.

*Current deal (2007-2010): Sky won packages A, B, E and F for £1.314bn total, and Setanta won packages C and D for £392m combined, for a total of £1.706bn.

*The rise and rise of the Premier League: How TV rights values have increased

1992-1997: BSkyB, 60 games/season, £190m – deal value, £633,000/game

1997-2001: BSkyB, 60 games, £670m, £2.79m/game

2001-2004: BSkyB, 110 games, £1.2bn, £3.64m/game

2004-2007: BSkyB, 138 games, £1.024bn, £2.47m/game

2007-2010: BSkyB and Setanta, 138 games, £1.706bn, £4.12m/game

2010-2013: BSkyB/Setanta 138 games, £1.782bn, £4.3m/game

Nick Harris

Suggested Topics
News
peopleTop Gear presenter and all-round controversialist is at it again
Life & Style
techHow a 'grey brick' took over the world of portable gaming
Sport
Aaron Ramsey celebrates after opening the scoring in Arsenal's win over Hull `
sport
News
peopleActress speaks out against historic sexual assault claims, saying things have 'gone quite far now'

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
Coren Mitchell, who is the daughter of the late broadcaster Alan Coren and is married to comedian David Mitchell, produced a hand to make poker history at the 98th EPT main event.
peopleJournalist and TV presenter becomes first ever two-time winner of the European Poker Tour
Arts & Entertainment
A stranger calls: Martin Freeman in ‘Fargo’
tvReview: New 10-part series brims with characters and stories

Life & Style
Guests enjoy food and cocktail parings by Chefs Jimmy Bannos, Jimmy Bannos Jr, Daniel Rose and Mindy Segal with mixologists Josh King and Alex Gara at Bounty & Barrel: A Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Dinner Series at Heaven on Seven on April 9, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois.
food + drinkSprinkle Palcohol 'on almost any dish' for 'an extra kick' firm says...
Arts & Entertainment
Shaun Evans as Endeavour interviews a prisoner as he tries to get to the bottom of a police cover up
tvReview: Second series comes to close with startling tale of police corruption and child abuse
Arts & Entertainment
Schwarzenegger winning Mr. Universe 1969
arts + entsCan you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
News
politicsLabour launches the 'completely hollow' Easter Clegg
Sport
Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring in Liverpool's 3-2 win over Norwich
sport Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
News
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth-II by David Bailey which has been released to mark her 88th birthday
peoplePortrait released to mark monarch's 88th birthday
Arts & Entertainment
The star of the sitcom ‘Miranda’ is hugely popular with mainstream audiences
TVMiranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
Life & Style
The writer, Gerda Saunders, with her mother, who also suffered with dementia before her death
healthGerda Saunders on the most formidable effect of her dementia
Arts & Entertainment
Last, but by no means least, is Tommy Cooper and the fez. This style of hat became a permanent trademark of his act.
comedyNot Like That, Like This centres on alleged domestic abuse
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

The man who could have been champion of the world

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him
Didn’t she do well?

Didn’t she do well?

Miranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
Before they were famous

Before they were famous

Can you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is genius

Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is a stroke of genius

Series is brimming with characters and stories all its own
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players