Apple Interested In Bidding For Premier League UK TV Rights, Says Report

Apple is interested in bidding for the UK TV rights to the Premier League, says a report in The Daily Mail.

The Premier League’s live UK rights for 2010-13 raised £1.782bn when they were sold to Sky Sports and ESPN UK during the summer of 2009. The next set of TV rights that will be up for bidding will be the 2013-2016 rights, which will commence bidding this spring and end this summer.

Here’s what The Daily Mail said regarding Apple’s interest:

“The Premier League is seen as the type of premium content that will help establish Apple TV in the UK and boost iPad sales, while the iTunes subscription service infrastructure is already in place.

The involvement of Apple – and their great multimedia rivals Google are also expected to make similar soundings – would give the PL a hugely competitive market at a time when the price of other TV sports rights are in decline.”

The UK TV rights to the Premier League are hotly contested especially since it’s the flagship programming for Sky. In addition to interest from Apple and ESPN UK, The Daily Mail reports that Middle East network Al Jezeera is also interested in bidding.

While Apple TV has yet to take off in the United Kingdom or elsewhere, there have been a lot of rumors regarding Apple possibly introducing an Apple television set with Apple TV built into it sometime this year. Having the Premier League available to customers in the United Kingdom would definitely make Apple TV, no matter whether it’s a device or TV set, a much more attractive item.

But what if Apple was also interested in bidding for the TV rights to showing the Premier League in the United States when they’re set to expire at the end of the 2012-13 season? The growing interest in the Premier League in the United States, as seen by the record 1.67 million who watched a tape-delayed game in November, shows that there is a market stateside. And having Apple outbid FOX Soccer and ESPN for the convenience of showing all Premier League games live on one device would be very convenient. Currently, residents in the United States have to subscribe to FOX Soccer, FOX Soccer Plus (or, ESPN2 and to guarantee that they won’t miss a single live game.

The other benefit of having Premier League TV rights available via Apple TV would be that soccer fans could become cord cutters, getting rid of their TV provider subscriptions. Soccer fans could save a ton of money by subscribing directly to a Premier League TV package on iTunes instead of having to pay for a cable or a satellite subscription where they get hundreds of channels they don’t watch and have to pay for sports packages just to get FOX Soccer, FOX Soccer Plus, ESPN and GolTV.

An additional benefit of having an Apple TV subscription to live Premier League matches is that soccer fans can guarantee HD streaming, as long as they have a broadband connection. In 2010, FOX Soccer launched in HD on DISH Network and DirecTV, as well as selected cable companies, but two years later the majority of soccer fans are still waiting for their cable company to offer FOX Soccer HD. The same applies to FOX Soccer Plus, which many soccer fans in the United States are still waiting for their cable company to make available.

Apple buying the TV rights to the Premier League in the United States would be a good move for soccer fans in the United States. Whether it’ll happen or not, we’ll have to wait and see. Apple TV already offers NBA, MLB and NHL, so adding EPL could be something that’s on the cards.

7 thoughts on “Apple Interested In Bidding For Premier League UK TV Rights, Says Report”

  1. Anything to get rid of my cable subscription would be a very good thing. Somehow I don’t expect Apple to outbid Sky/Fox at this time. Sky/Fox will offer more money to get the rights and then turn around and charge more for FS+/ Anyway, it will be very interesting to see what happens in the end.

  2. Aww, Gaffer—Citing The Mail? I believe they also heard that Venky’s are going to acquire the top 5 defenders in the Prem during the current transfer window. Rovers to the top I think.

  3. On demand games through my Apple tv would be great, it would be nice if they added a few features to reflect the modern and sleek delivery medium.

    Maybe they would be crazy enough to add same interactive choices I used to get back in UK with sky for camera angles and player focus?

    However, I would imagine with the Disney CEO on the Apple board that the ESPN feed would be the source partner.

    Would it be in 3D like back home? its actually a pretty great experience when you use the cinema glasses system and not the crazy battery powered glasses system.

    If Apple does do this they would surely launch with the newer Apple television with software upgrades to the Apple tv box if it was still supported.

    How much per game would you pay? Would it follow the model or improve upon it by adding every game with no delays just like the direct tv package.

    In-fact, if you had the chance to design the ultimate viewing experience for EPL, what would it be? Everyone (including myself) wants a better experience and bemoans Comcast and ESPN or the lack of hd or how its not really ppv or how it should be like sunday ticket etc.. well given the chance what would be the ultimate scenario.

    Live and recorded viewing experience
    Access options
    Levels of interactivity
    and then pricing

    FYI Jonny Ive or “sir” Jonny as he will be known, the man behind the designs and vision at Apple is a Spurs fan.

  4. ” if you had the chance to design the ultimate viewing experience for EPL, what would it be?”

    For me, it has to be the ESPN3 on the XBox model. I would even pay for it. Fox Soccer Online would be good if it was playable at an HD resolution, so I could have it on my TV. And actually, Fox Soccer Online’s biggest problem is that it doesn’t show games online if it shows on a fox station. This is their biggest problem, I hate them for it. Their winning the world cup rights is a tragedy… Especially the rights to a world cup where we won’t be able to see the games live.

  5. The apps + cable industry in the USA are making the soccer experience feel like crap.

    This would add a bit more competition and a lot of innovation, at the very least.

    I can see a Fox + Apple + Al Jezeera bid being an interesting bid.

    Thumbs up here.

  6. the Apple TV PL subscription would have to be less than $15/month for it to be of any savings for me as the only channel I have to pay a subscription fee for is FoxSoccer Plus.
    FoxSoccer, GolTV, FoxDeportes, ESPNDeportes, are all part of my standard FiOS subscription.

    the rest of the house watches enough tv on the other channels we couldn’t drop the FiOS subscription…

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