The English Premier League has just struck a deal with the European Union over the future sale of broadcasting rights, which could have a profound effect on the amount of Premiership matches seen on North American TV in the future.
It’s unclear what the impact will be right now, but the bottom line is that SkySports will no longer have the exclusive rights to the Premiership from 2007 until 2013. No single broadcaster will be able to screen all the available games – ending BSkyB’s monopoly – and the rights will be sold in six packages. As well as television, the deal covers mobile phone and internet rights.
What this could mean to TV viewers in the States is that the Premiership may end up being available on Fox Soccer Channel and other networks, depending on who wins the bids to broadcast the matches. According to The Guardian newspaper, Setanta Sports has said it is interested in bidding for the rights. Fox Soccer Channel and Sky are owned by the same global company, Rupert Murdoch’s Fox.
The changes will occur beginning with the 2007/2008 season. First, though, the broadcasters will be able to bid on the live matches to determine who will get the rights.