Premiership rights may spark bid war

PREMIER league football clubs could rake in three times as much if “a real bidding war between broadcasting giants” breaks out when the sale of the broadcast rights to the football premiership kicks off next month.

Having already entered the French market, Al Jazeera has been touted as a serious challenger to the supremacy of Sky, which paid £1.6bn for a three-year broadcast deal in 2009.

But in the wake of Ofcom’s probe into whether BSkyB and James Murdoch are “fit and proper” persons to own a broadcast licence, the gates are open for change.

Graham Shear, head of BLP’s sports group, thinks a full-blown bidding war is on the cards. “Al Jazeera could well exploit the situation in a timely manner,” he told City A.M.

If it does, premier league clubs – which currently make between around £30m and £45m each a year from the broadcast of their matches – could see their annual broadcast revenues climb as high as £100m.

The upcoming auction will allocate the rights to broadcast football seasons from 2013-2016.