Premier League chief Richard Scudamore has admitted that loyalty will count for nothing when the bidding starts for the rights to show live Premier League football exclusively.
Scudamore has admitted that there is a possibility of the rights being sold across Europe, which would mean less money for the teams involved. However if, as expected, Sky and Al Jazeera make bids for the rights for the next three years, then they would cover any extra costs, meaning Premier League clubs’ income would still be very high.
The interesting thing is, that Sky could quite conceivably lose out on the Premier League right, after exclusively showing matches since the competition began 20 years ago. Al Jazeera have already acquired the rights to French football matches and have the kind of money needed to rival Sky for English football’s top division.
Scudamore told reporters:
“Our packages are put out on the open market and we have an open tender for those packages – We have to sell to the highest compliant bidder.
“Whilst, of course, we have huge regard and respect, and Sky has made a fantastic impact on our business. [But] There is nothing they can do other than be the best bidder, to win those rights.”
Losing out on the rights would be a massive blow to Rupert Murdoch’s empire. It would see millions of subscribers opt-out of the expensive Sky Sports package in favour of a cheaper package, which includes whoever the winning the bidder.
The discussions have come as a result of a European Court of Justice ruling last year, which saw Portsmouth landlady Karen Murphy win a case to show live games. The judge had said that the Premier League could not give “broadcasters exclusivity on a member state basis.”
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