Has Premier League TV bubble burst?

London (AFP) – The Premier League could be set for a pay cut after eye-watering back-to-back domestic TV deals but experts say the boom times are far from over for English football.

Sky held on to its position as the main broadcaster of live matches, claiming four of the seven available packages for 2019-2022, with BT taking the other package sold so far at a total combined cost of £4.46 billion ($6.16 billion).

With more games still up for grabs, the overall deal for the 200 matches on offer each season — up from the current 168 — could still surpass the £5.14 billion paid for 2016-2019 but the price per game has at the moment dropped from £10.2 million to £9.3 million.

AFP Sport looks at the reason for the slowdown in the rampant inflation after successive 70 percent increases.

‘Correction in the marketplace’

Premier League chief Richard Scudamore could barely contain his glee when he announced the whopping increase in the value of the UK TV rights three years ago.

It was a deal so good it caused consternation across Europe. La Liga president Javier Tebas warned the Premier League could become “the NBA of football”, having himself secured a deal for just 2.65 billion euros for domestic rights.

However, that level of inflation was not expected to be matched this time around.

“I think the abnormal deal, the one that took everyone by surprise, was the last one — a 70 per cent increase which was way more than I think anybody was expecting,” said former Premier League chief executive Rick Parry.

“It’s a little correction in the marketplace.”

Overseas rights

Where the Premier League does expect to keep cashing in is overseas TV rights.

In November a three-year deal from 2019 was reportedly agreed with China’s PPTV worth $700 million – 10 times the current contract for Chinese TV rights. 

US broadcaster NBC also reportedly paid $1 billion for the six seasons until 2021-22 in 2015.

“On the international stage deals have already been done in the States, China, Brazil and Africa,” Tim Bridge, senior manager at Deloitte’s Sports Business Group told AFP. “The significant growth in new markets suggests the appetite for the Premier League around the world hasn’t diluted.”

In a conference call with investors last week, Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said the league’s “global cumulative audience has increased nine per cent year-by-year, with particularly strong increases in Asia and North America”.

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