BSkyB nabs lion's share; ESPN misses out

LONDON — U.K. pay box BSkyB has once again secured rights to live TV Premier League soccer matches while Disney-owned sports web, ESPN, has lost out to British Telecom’s Vision Service.

Blighty’s Premier League announced Wednesday that it has secured a hefty £3.02 billion ($4.7 billion) for the rights, shared between BSkyB and BT, up 70% on the last deal four years ago.

BSkyB will pay $1.18 billion per year for five packages of games for three seasons, starting August 2013.

This works out at $10.26 million a game — a huge hike from the current $7.31 million.

The pay box will show 116 matches each season.

BT has acquired the rights for 38 matches a season, including 18 first-choice games.

Deal gives BSkyB exclusive rights to U.K. Premier League live soccer for another four years across all platforms — including satellite, cable, IPTV, online and mobile.

Coverage will also be available on the Sky Sports channel and BSkyB’s new Internet TV service, NOW TV, which bows later this year.

BSkyB CEO Jeremy Darroch said, “In what was a very competitive tender process, we are pleased to have secured the combination of rights that we wanted, providing certainty for us and our customers.

“Whilst the cost is higher, we have capacity for this increase through the combination of excellent work on cost efficiency across the business and choices over other future spending.

“As a result, we remain confident of delivering our financial plans, in line with our expectations, unchanged, in each year of the new deal.”

BT said it would launch a new soccer-focused web to carry the games. “It will offer new interactive features when supplied over BT’s fiber network and we will look to distribute it on other platforms.”

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more