Aug 11, 2017

Sport remains key to Sky as tech rivals plot pitch invasion

The questions have become all the more pressing for Sky after Amazon emerged as a serious bidder for a new five-year UK deal with the ATP to show the best male tennis players in the world on its Prime video platform. As part of its current three-year deal with the Premier League, Sky is paying £1.4bn a season. For Sky, sport is now far less integral than it was when Rupert Murdoch was attempting to save BSkyB from bankruptcy in the early 1990s. With average viewing numbers for Premier League games falling by 14 per cent last season - the biggest fall since Sky started showing the competition - it is easy to understand why Sky might be looking for cheaper, more popular alternatives to pricey football. Yet investors already frustrated by the lengthy hold-up as UK regulators weigh 21st Century Fox's £11.7bn bid for Sky, will still be eyeing the coming Premier League anxiously, knowing the pay-TV group cannot afford to walk away.

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