Jan 2, 2018

Sky still game for Premier League matches despite Disney’s Fox bid

For more than two decades, the English Premier League has relied on the financial might of Sky, with the company paying billions each time the league sold its much sought-after media rights. Walt Disney's $66bn offer for the entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox, including its 39 per cent stake in Sky, has raised questions about the broadcaster's strategy when the next round of bidding for the UK rights kicks off in February. While this may affect the price Sky is prepared to pay for the Premier League, Mathew Horsman, analyst with Mediatique, says the company cannot afford to lose its grip on the rights. "We would expect a bid for international content distribution rights to appeal more to these 'over the top' [digital] players, given the Premier League's popularity around the world and the ubiquity of these platforms," says Dhananjay Mirchandani, an analyst with Bernstein. Amazon outbid the company this year to win exclusive UK rights to ATP men's tennis world tour matches, while in the past few months, Facebook and Twitter have competed for global sports rights, from NFL games to Indian Premier League cricket.

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