THIS was the auction that Sky dared not lose. The satellite broadcaster has built itself on the back of live football and although it’s now a much more broadly-focused business than it ever was, the appeal of the Premier League is still what convinces hundreds of thousands of subscribers to stick with the service come what may.
No doubt the markets will fixate on the 70+ per cent increase in what Sky has shelled out to keep its dominant position in Premier League coverage, ahead of its bumptious rival BT Sport. But the reality is it had little choice.
From next year BT Sport will be showing exclusive coverage of the Champions League (as well as the less coveted Europa League) so it’s not hard to see why Sky was feeling under intense pressure to retain as much Premier League football as it could.
The winners will be the clubs and the players, awash with more cash. Sky shareholders might wince at first sight but they would have been truly shattered had they lost the rights battle.