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.


‘There is no free lunch’, Macron tells tech giant CEOs

Updated 24 May 2018
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‘There is no free lunch’, Macron tells tech giant CEOs

PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron told executives from the world’s biggest technology firms on Wednesday that he wanted innovation to be a driving force for the French economy, but also that they needed to contribute more to society.
The French leader paints himself as a champion of France’s plugged-in youth and wants to transform France into a “startup nation” that draws higher investments into technology and artificial intelligence. He is also spearheading efforts in Europe to have digital companies pay more tax at source.
Macron’s guest-list included Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, IBM’s Virginia Rometty, Intel Corp’s Brian Krzanich, Microsoft Corp’s Satya Nadella and a raft of other big hitters in the corporate world.
“There is no free lunch,” he quipped in English to the executives lined up on the steps of the Elysee Palace for a photo call at a lunch meeting. “So I want from you some commitments.”
As Macron spoke, IBM announced it would hire about 1,400 people in France over the next two years in the fields of blockchain and cloud computing.
Ride-hailing app Uber also said it planned to offer all its European drivers an upgraded version of the health insurance it already provides in France in a drive to attract independent workers and fend off criticism over their treatment.
Macron will hold one-on-one talks with Mark Zuckerberg on tax and data privacy on the sidelines of the Tech For Good summit — a day after the Facebook chief executive faced questions from European Union lawmakers.
Those talks will be frank, an Elysee official said ahead of the meeting. While Macron will be pitching France Inc, he will also push his case for a European Union tax on digital turnover and a tougher fight against both data piracy and fake news.
Zuckerberg on Tuesday sailed through a grilling from EU lawmakers about the social network’s data policies, apologizing to leaders of the European Parliament for a massive data leak but dodging numerous questions.
Macron told the executives that business needed to do more in tackling issues such as inequality and climate change.
“It is not possible just to have free riding on one side, when you make a good business,” the French president said.