Football rights: what does the BT deal mean?
A new player has entered English Premier League football with BT making a surprise bid to show 38 live games from the season after next, ousting current rights holder ESPN.
How will the new channel look?
BSkyB kept the lion's share of the 154 live games on offer, with the two companies paying a record-breaking £3.02 billion for the privilege of showing us Premier League football until summer 2016.
BT's entry into the market, plus the near 70% rise in money paid for the rights came as a shock to all pundits, who thought it was more likely that al-Jazeera would outbid ESPN and that there would only be a modest rise in income.
But what does this mean for us cash-strapped football fans? And what will BT's coverage of the Premier League look like?
I pay for Sky Sports and/or ESPN at the moment - will anything change?
If you just have Sky Sports, very little will change. You will still be able to see the majority of the live games thanks to your subscription. Monday Night Football remains and most of Sky's games will be over the weekend.
But if you pay for ESPN, it is worth remembering that there will be no live English Premier League football on the channel from the season after next. There will be EPL games on there for one more season and the channel will continue to show Scottish Premier League games, the FA Cup and various foreign games.
How much more will it cost me to watch BT's games?
There's been no word so far on pricing. But, if you are already a BT customer or are planning to be one, be prepared for a nice juicy carrot to be waved in front of you to take the sports package - at least half-price for the first six months if you take BT Vision. I would also expect there to be a pay-per-game option to tempt people in.
A previous attempt by BT Vision to get people to watch delayed Premier League coverage saw them beat Sky's price and offer a good deal on a phone line. For BT, this is all about getting eyeballs on its BT Vision product and hands on BT Broadband. Which leads me to the next question....
Will I need another decoder box to watch BT's games?
BT don't need to show these games through a Sky dish or a Virgin box and have sound commercial reasons not to. All of the comments from BT so far are about the 'enhanced experience' you will get when you watch these games through a BT Vision box or through a BT Broadband connection.
There might be pressure from fans for the games to be available through a Sky digibox, but this deal is all about shifting BT Broadband Infinity and BT Vision connections so I think it is likely a new BT Vision box may be required on top of a Sky/cable box.
Will Lineker & Shearer jump ship from the BBC to BT?
Unlikely, but stranger things have happened. But who presents its coverage and what its presentation style will be is a very interesting question. BT has hinted they intend to 'do more' with coverage by using their fibre optic technology. So expect more stats, graphics and interactive gizmos - the sort of toys only TV producers normally get to play with.
However, you still need a good presenter and pundits, so who will they be? BT says it's too early to talk about that, but they have spent so much money on these rights that they need them to work. So expect some big-name signings as regular pundits, even if it's just for marketing purposes. Maybe this will be David Beckham's first regular TV pundit gig?
One name that does shine through on the presentation front is ESPN's Rebecca Lowe. She has won many plaudits for her presenting work on the channel and her star is rising. If one of the mainstream channels doesn't snap her up then she would be a natural fit into the new service.
What now for ESPN? And what now for their other rights, like Scottish Premier League and Premiership Rugby?
The jury is out. ESPN has been building an impressive portfolio of British sports rights for the past couple of years. But how hard will it be to attract people to SPL if they don't have the crown jewel of rights (Premier League) to tempt them in? I think there is still room for ESPN in this market, despite losing Premier League rights to BT. But it will be a vastly different channel. It may choose to buy even more rugby rights and become a destination channel for that sport and ditch football, or it may choose to pull out of the market completely.
But whilst that could mean the value of those other British sports rights falls, they too may be able to find salvation in the BT buck. Afterall, 38 live football games doesn't equal a channel
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This latest immoral, obscene money injection by Sky and BT to the Premiership beggars belief.
Players already on £200.000 per week will now go for £500,000.,
Their Union leader is already the highest paid union official in the UK., for what does he do???
Watch this space folks, footballers will be even more arrogant and overpaid whilst the ordinary man in the street struggles to feed his kids.
Wake up Premiership supporters, your being taken for a ride, whilst austerity measures deprive you of a decent existence.
If Spain are broke how come J. Marino is to be paid millions for the next 5 years?
By the way I do not subscribe to Sky nor do I have or want BT Broadband.
As for BT mailing me on a weekly basis to switch to their 'Infinity Broadband' they are becoming a nuisance bordering on haranquement
There are other options out there to watch Premiership Soccer FREE.
To Sky & BT 'Foxtrot Oscar'
Then we might get a much needed cash injection so we can compete with French clubs in the HC also it could help to do away with the wage cap
If ESPN where to get Rugby for around £48 million (which compared to the round ball game is just a drop in the ocean)a season (instead of the derisory £12million at the moment ie. £1mil per team no matter how many times your on the box)and then do some rescheduling ie. Friday night and Monday night games
plus 2 games on Saturday and Sunday
They then could become a niche Rugby channel