Sky scores Premier League rights rebate on eve of big return to action | Pay-TV | News | Rapid TV News
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The day that some leading pundits thought would never come is now here and just as the English Premier League picks up where it left off in March reports are confirming that principal rights holder Sky has been refunded for subscription revenues that it has lost since action disappeared from screens.
PremierLeague Liverpool Hendo Trent 29May2020
The big restart following the halt of the league since the outbreak of Covid-19 will take place today at 18:00 with Aston Villa v Sheffield United and then at 20:00 with Manchester City v Arsenal. 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; and after a successful debut in December, Amazon Prime will take another four.

The original schedule was 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. 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 bundles 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.

The hiatus in the 2019/2020 season has caused a bitter behind-the-scenes battle between 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.

At the beginning of June 2020, leading sports outlet The Athletic first reported 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. And now the Financial Times is reporting that Sky is indeed on the verge of securing rebates ahead of the recommencement of coverage.

The FT quoted Rob Webster, managing director of Sky Sports, who runs Sky’s sports channels in the UK, as saying that the pay-TV group was close to completing negotiations over rebates that it described as “balanced and fair” adding that the funds “mitigate the impact on [its] business [from] the lack of live sport over the past 12 weeks.

Sky was said to have been in similar negotiations with the organisers of Formula One motor racing, English cricket and other sports events on which it has spent billions of pounds to secure exclusive screening rights. “The vast majority of [rebate] conversations have reached a conclusion where the sport itself is able to continue to thrive and to have funding certainty over the short to medium term,” Webster added.

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.

Read more: Premier League agrees repayment deferral from Sky Sports | Pay-TV | News | Rapid TV News
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