Sky Sports has won the rights to broadcast two-thirds of 138 live top-flight English football matches for three years starting in 2007, with Irish pay-TV operator Setanta to air the rest.
Sky is paying about 20 percent more than it did for its existing deal and is losing exclusivity, while the much less well-known Setanta is positioning itself to attract far more British TV watchers by landing the games.
England’s Premier League, said on Friday the six broadcast packages generated 1.706 billion pounds, with Sky paying 1.314 billion and Setanta 392 million pounds.
Sky won the coveted “A” package of matches, which are played late on Sunday afternoons. It also has the rights for early afternoon Saturday and Sunday matches, as well as a group to be played midweek and on bank holidays.
Setanta’s 46 games are mostly scheduled for Saturday evenings and Monday nights.
After having the rights for 88 matches (plus 50 on Prem Plus) for each of the last three seasons, Sky will have 92 a season for the next three-year span. It originally showed 60 per season when it first won the exclusive rights in 1992.