Premier League agrees repayment deferral from Sky Sports | Pay-TV | News | Rapid TV News
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Leading pay-TV sports news services in the UK are reporting that English Premier League (EPL) football clubs have come to an agreement with pay-TV broadcaster Sky to defer repayment of broadcast rights fees due to games being cancelled because of the Covid-19 outbreak.
PremierLeague Liverpool Hendo Trent 29May2020
In February 2018, Sky and BT retained principal Premier League football rights in a three-season deal valued at £4.5 billion. As part of the tranche of rights, Sky nabbed the four main budles totalling 128 games a season, for £1.193 billion per annum, offering viewers every first-pick weekend match, plus Saturday evening fixtures for the first time, all screened on a dedicated Premier League channel. For its part, BT won the rights package for 32 games per season for £295 million.

Yet the schedule has been badly affected by the pandemic and was halted in March just before the lockdown with most teams having nine more games of the season to play. The hiatus had promoted a behind-the-scenes battle the clubs and broadcasters who with no games to show had deferred their customers’ monthly subscription fees and it had been suggested that at the last meeting of EPL clubs, the teams were warned that they faced having to repay collectively as much as £330 million to UK and global broadcasters, even upon the restart and completion of the season.

The big restart will take place on 17 June with Aston Villa v Sheffield United and Manchester City v Arsenal, games postponed due to the Carabao Cup final in March and which will mean that all teams will have played 29 games. These two fixtures will be followed by a full match round beginning on Friday 19 June. All 92 remaining games will be shown live on television in the UK. Sky Sports will show 64 games; BT Sport, 20; the BBC will offer four games free-to-air 4; and after a successful debut in December, Amazon Prime will take another four.

Yet even though the ball appears to be rolling, literally, leading sports outlet The Athletic is reporting that the clubs have come to an arrangement with the UK broadcasters to repay £223 million will be repaid to domestic broadcasters with as much as £170 million deferred until the 2021/22 season. Sky is said to have agreed to pay its broadcast rights fees for the 2021/22 season on schedule and then claims the deferred payment at a later date in order to protect clubs’ cash flows.

Documents seen by The Athletic revealed that the £107 million owed to non-UK broadcasters must be repaid in full by the end of July 2020. Moreover, they are also said to show that if the restarted season is again curtailed, Sky will not defer the rebate and the entire £762 million will be claimed by all broadcasters.