It is small compensation that the FA Premier League TV deal for 2019-2022, announced yesterday, wasn’t another 71% increase, like the last time. With two of the smaller packages still to be decided, this contract is roughly comparable with the current deal.
The encouraging sign, for those of us with our noses pressed against the window, is that Sky, who won four of the five packages awarded so far, reduced their price per game to £9.3m, down from £10.8m, committing a total of £3.579bn over three years.
BT, who paid less per game for the current deal than Sky, upped their price for their one successful package to £9.22m per game from £7.6m, committing a total of £885m.
The remaining two packages are to broadcast the entire league programme across two match days each, three of which will be midweek and one bank holiday fixture list. The Premier League hope to entice additional competition from Amazon and Facebook into this space, but it is far from certain these rights will attract significant value. Will 10 games broadcast simultaneously attract significantly more armchair fans than one major game? I’m not convinced.
My expectation is for the final domestic rights figure to slightly underperform the current deal. What the Premier League has in its favour is the value of the pound compared to the euro, dollar and pretty much any other currency of note.
Since the last international rights were agreed, the pound depreciated following the Brexit vote, so foreign TV companies get far more £s for their domestic currency. While this will support GBP denominated TV revenues, it could mask a softening of the underlying value.
It should be noted that Celtic also ‘win’ from the flag waving act of economic illiteracy that is Brexit, due to their Champions League euro denominated remits. One small ray of sunshine in a very overcast ‘sky’.