How will new Premier League football rights deal affect pubs?

By Stuart Stone

- Last updated on GMT

More matches on offer: the Premier League is offering 42 more live games per season
More matches on offer: the Premier League is offering 42 more live games per season

Related tags Premier league Sky sports

After the Premier League issued its tender document for television rights yesterday (7 December), it has been revealed that more Saturday night and midweek football fixtures will be screened live between 2019 and 2022 with full sets of fixtures made available for broadcast for the first time ever.

Of the 380 matches played each season, 200 will be available to broadcast – 42 more than are available at present. The 200 games have been divided into seven different packages to go out to tender and details of those have been revealed in The Daily Telegraph​.

Three full midweek rounds of fixtures and a full bank holiday programme will be shown live during the 2019-20 season in what is set to be a first for the Premier League.

The season after next will also see the introduction of regular Saturday night Premier League football, with eight matches per season available under a three-year deal. The commitment to not showing any live games between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on Saturdays will continue in order to protect attendances at lower league clubs.

Premier League 2019-22 TV rights - the seven packages available 

Package A – 32 matches – Saturday 12.30pm

Package B – 32 matches – Saturday 5.30pm

Package C – 24 matches – Sunday 2pm and eight matches – Saturday 7.45pm

Package D – 32 matches – Sunday 4.30pm

Package E – 24 matches – Monday 8pm or Friday 7.30pm-8pm and eight matches – Sunday 2pm

Package F – All 20 matches – from one bank holiday and one midweek fixture programme

Package G – All 20 matches from two midweek fixture programmes 

While the expansion marks another forward step for the Premier League, Dom Collingwood, co-founder of MatchPint, is less convinced that pubs will be as positive in response new broadcasting plans.

He explained: "This is great news for the Premier League. More money from inflated rights packages and a tease to attract media tech companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google, which are currently circling around live sports rights.

“We're not convinced pubs will see the benefits though. Sure, there are more opportunities to drive sales around sport, but at what cost? Friday and Saturday nights are already prime time for sales, primarily driven by the going-out market. Showing live football during an already busy trading time is unlikely to boost like-for-like sales while there is a risk that it will deter regular evening drinkers.

“Much will depend on how this affects pricing. If this prompts an increase in subscription costs at home, together with a freeze in trade, we could see more fans leaving their sofa and fridge full of cheap beer in favour of the pub – good news. If it prompts and increase in base line subscription costs for pubs, bars, and restaurants then it's tough to forecast an increased ROI for licensees.

"Almost every game of national significance (major derbies, top of the table clashes, etc.) are already broadcast. Will 42 additional mid-table match-ups drive millions more to the trade? Not convinced.”

New rights challengers? 

The previous two sales of domestic rights have seen their value increase by 70% – with the current value standing at £5.1bn. Sky Sports currently broadcasts the majority of games with BT Sport taking the rights to Saturday evening fixtures – though it’s expected that the pair will have to fend off the challenge of the likes of Amazon and Facebook in seasons to come.

Collingwood added: “What might shake things up is a new entrant to the rights bidding. With so many games now available, might we see games broadcast on Amazon Prime for the first time? If so, how will that work in pubs? We'll all need smart TVs, or a distribution agreement with either Sky or BT. To be honest, with so many games up for grabs, MatchPint is thinking of putting a bid in...

"Of course, it's fantastic to see more games on TV. Many fans of mid and lower table teams feel frustrated they can't see their team play on TV. We'd prefer to see a rights scenario where games can be played simultaneously (say two match-ups on a Saturday lunch time) in which pubs can come into their own and offer something simply not available at home."

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