Sky big winner as English Premier League UK television rights sold for $6 billion

Manchester City take on Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England. (AFP)
Updated 14 February 2018
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Sky big winner as English Premier League UK television rights sold for $6 billion

LONDON: The Premier League’s inflationary bubble burst Tuesday when the $6b sale of British television rights saw a slump in revenue from broadcasters.
The past two auctions both produced 70 percent jumps in the value of rights, fueling spiraling wages and transfer fees and cementing the competition’s status as the world’s richest league. But a second round of bidding for the 2019-2022 rights left two of the seven packages unsold as Sky emerged the big winner, and BT’s number of games was reduced.
The sale of 160 games has raised £4.464b  ($6.2b), compared with £5.14b  for 168 fixtures from 2016 to 2019. The league will be looking to the sale of overseas rights to provide an upsurge in revenue for its 20 teams.
While remaining the biggest broadcaster of most games in Britain with four packages, Sky boasted how it was now paying 16 percent less per fixture in its £3.579b, three-year deal to show 128 games per season. That equates to savings of almost £600m for the European pay TV giant while showing an additional two games a year.
But while Sky’s price per game drops from £11m to £9.3m, BT had to agree to pay £9.2m  — up from £7.6m — for one package of 32 games. The broadcaster, which was launched in 2012 by Britain’s former telephone monopoly, has lost 10 games.
The Premier League increased the number of games available for live broadcasting in Britain to 200, with only overseas channels able to air all 380 fixtures a year live in a bid to maintain high numbers of fans at stadiums.
The Premier League said “multiple bidders” remain interested in the two remaining packages that allow broadcasters to show every game on four match nights. It is the first time entire rounds of fixtures can be aired live domestically, and there is intrigue over whether companies like Amazon, Netflix or Facebook will use them as a chance to gain a foothold in the Premier League.
“To have achieved this investment with two packages of live rights remaining to sell is an outcome that is testament to the excellent football competition delivered by the clubs,” Premier League chairman Richard Scudamore said. “It provides them with certainty and will underpin their continued efforts to put on the most compelling football, invest sustainably in all areas, and use their popularity and reach to have a positive impact on the sport and beyond.”
The 2019-2022 Chinese rights have already been sold to online video streaming service PPTV for $700m in the league’s biggest-ever global deal. In 2015, the American rights were sold through 2022 to NBC in a six-year deal worth $1b.
The auction comes amid uncertainty at Sky with regulators in Britain assessing the attempt by Rupert Murdochs’s 21st Century Fox to buy the 61 percent of the broadcaster it does not already own. Walt Disney Co. has also bid $52.4b to take over the majority of Fox in a deal that Disney hopes would lead to full ownership of Sky.


Saudi energy minister compares electric vehicle ‘hype’ to peak oil misconceptions

Updated 15 October 2018
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Saudi energy minister compares electric vehicle ‘hype’ to peak oil misconceptions

  • Khalid Al-Falih on Monday questioned what he described as the “hype” of the electric vehicle market
  • Compared it to past misconceptions around the theory of peak oil

LONDON: Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih on Monday questioned what he described as the “hype” of the electric vehicle market and compared it to past misconceptions around the theory of peak oil.
He told the CERAWeek energy gathering by IHS Markit in New Delhi that petrol and diesel engines would co-exist with emerging electric and hydrogen fuel cell technologies for much longer than widely expected.
Miscalculations around the pace of electrification could create “serious” risks around global energy security, he said.
“Conventional vehicles today, despite all the hype, represent 99.8 percent of the global vehicle fleet. That means electric vehicles with 0.2 percent of the fleet, only substitute about 30,000 barrels per day of oil equivalent of a total global oil demand of about 100 million barrels.
“Even if those numbers increase by a factor of 100 over the next couple of decades, they would still remain negligible in the global energy mix.”
He said: “History tells us that orderly energy transformations are a complex phenomenon involving generational time frames as opposed to quick switches that could lead to costly setbacks.”
In another broadside aimed at electric vehicles, the Saudi energy minister highlighted past misconceptions about global energy demand growth — and specifically the notion of “peak oil.”
“I remember thought leaders within the industry telling us that oil demand will peak at 95 million barrels per day. Had we listened to them and not invested . . . imagine the tight spot we would be in today.”
“Let’s also remember that in many parts of the world, roughly three fourths of the electricity, which would also power electric vehicles, is currently generated by coal, including here in India. So you could think of any electric vehicle running in the streets of Delhi as essentially being a coal-powered automobile.”
“When it comes to renewables, the fundamental challenge of battery storage remains unresolved — a factor that is essential to the intermittency issue impacting wind and solar power. Therefore the more realistic narrative and assessment is that electric vehicles and renewables will continue to make technological and economic progress and achieve greater market penetration — but at a relatively gradual rate and as a result, conventional energy will be with us for a long, long time to come.”