Premier League set for approval of roll-over TV deals in UK; £100m sweetener for EFL

By Samindra Kunti

May 12 – The Premier League is set to be given government approval to roll over its existing television deal with domestic broadcasters for a further three years, with the league claiming that “the renewals will provide financial certainty to clubs throughout professional football”. 

The new deal with Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon Prime and the BBC, extends the current rights arrangements for another three years and runs from 2022 to 2025, is subject to parliamentary approval and any opposition to the proposed plans needs to be made by May 28.

The UK government has approved the deal “in principle” with  an “exclusion order” under the competition act.  Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is “minded to” approve the new deal.

“In light of the damaging impact of the Covid-19 pandemic throughout the English football pyramid, the Premier League was able to demonstrate to Government exceptional and compelling reasons for the Exclusion Order,” the league said.

“The Premier League has effectively paid to get an otherwise, anticompetitive deal over the line at a time when clubs would have been very nervous in testing both relations within existing broadcast partners, who have shown relative patience and support throughout COVID, as well as the wider market in terms of values,” commented Alex Haffner, partner, Corporate Department, at Fladgate LLP.

“The price paid, of course, is a cool £100m to the lower level of the football pyramid below EPL. The interesting question is whether this is a one off and linked to the now scrapped ESL project, or whether this is the start of a genuine increase in the sharing of wealth amongst the entire football community and a sign of things to come in terms of government policy and approach.”

In 2018, the Premier League agreed a deal worth £4.7 billion, which represented a 10% drop in value, and clubs had expressed their concern over another fall in value.

The Premier League said that the renewals will not only provide financial certainty to professional clubs, but also enable the league to provide an additional £100 million of funding to clubs across the football pyramid over the next four years.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: “We would like to express our gratitude to our broadcast partners for their continued commitment to the Premier League and support for the football pyramid.

“Covid-19 has had a significant impact on football, and renewals with our UK broadcast partners will reduce uncertainty, generate stability and promote confidence within the football pyramid.”

Even so, recent broadcast deals suggest domestic and overseas TV rights have for now reached a peak.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1721858161labto1721858161ofdlr1721858161owedi1721858161sni@o1721858161fni1721858161