BT and Sky score "near live" Premiership TV rights


The latest package of FA Premier League football broadcasting rights has been bought jointly by BT and BSkyB, allowing viewers to watch near live matches on demand.

BT today announced it had won the rights in partnership with Sky to 242 matches over three consecutive seasons for its next-generation TV service BT Vision, which will go live in the autumn, with the football deal coming into play for the 2007 to 2008 season.

The telecoms giant claims that for the first time fans will be able to watch the full 90 minutes of Premiership games on a pay per view basis without requiring a television subscription.

Dan Marks, chief executive officer of BT Vision, said: "We're delighted to have won this bid. This is a landmark moment for sports viewing in the UK as BT Vision customers will have great control, convenience and choice over the games they want to watch without the need for an upfront subscription."

Although the matches will not be broadcast live, viewers can pay a one-off fee to watch any of the games covered in the package up to 50 hours after 22:00 GMT on the day they game was played.

Earlier this year Sky was forced to share its coverage of live Premiership games after government concerns over its monopoly. TV rights for the three seasons starting in 2007 were divided into seven packages, with Sky paying £1.314 billion for four separate packages, allowing it to broadcast 92 games per year.

Irish-based pay per view operator Setanta picked up two of the Premier League TV packages for £393 million.

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