Neither BT nor Sky has emerged victorious from the auction of Premier League broadcasting rights, analysts have said, which sold for a record £5.1 billion (€6.9 billion) on Tuesday.
Paolo Pescatore, of analysts CCS Insight, claimed the “phenomenal” sums paid by Sky and BT would leave a dent in both companies after paying £4.2 billion (€5.7 billion) and £960 million (€1.3 billion) respectively for the rights to show English top tier football matches.
Pescatore went on to claim the Premier League itself was the only real winner of the rights auction after the rival broadcasters were forced into a bout of high-pressure bidding as each battled for a lead in the UK multiplay market.
Pescatore said: “For a similar rights portfolio as before, but with a phenomenal increase in spend, these huge sums clearly show the importance of this rights auction to BT and Sky as part of their own aspirations in multiplay.”
Following the auction, British incumbent BT Sport won exclusive rights to 42 Premier League matches in both the 2016-17 and 2018-19 seasons, an increase of four matches per season.
Meanwhile, rival Sky secured UK rights to a total of 126 live Premier League matches per season from 2016-17 and 2018-19. The broadcaster revealed the new agreement represented an 83 percent spending increase over the cost of its existing contract.
Nevertheless, Jeremy Darroch, CEO of Sky, suggested that the costs were not a concern to the broadcaster. He said: "We went into the Premier League auction with a clear objective and are pleased to have secured the rights that we wanted.
“Our strong performance across the board gives us financial strength and flexibility. We have a clear plan to absorb the cost of the new Premier League deal while delivering our financial plans.”
BT Consumer CEO John Petter said that the operator’s extended lineup was good news for the operator. However, Pescatore said that while it had taken a step forward in its multi-play ambitions, BT had not come out as favourably as hoped.
“Though BT has secured a broad portfolio of rights focussed on European sports, this is a dent to its own aspirations to attract Sky households; who clearly have a strong appetite to watch Premier League football,” he said.
“Sky has shown that people are willing to pay for live sport and it will continue to be a battle ground for multiplay providers in the year to come.”
It is not only operators that will bear the brunt of increased spending either, with Pescatore warning: “Given the ever escalating cost of content rights, we would expect consumers to pay more to watch football on the big screen.”