U.K. pay-TV team scores Premiere League rights

BSkyB, NTL, Telewest, Ondigital get deal

LONDON — The pay-per-view rights to the Premier League, the top rung of English soccer, are set to be awarded to a consortium that includes all four of the U.K.’s pay-TV platforms.

The reported £181 million ($257 million) deal, which could be formalized this week, will allot 40 PPV matches per year for three years beginning with the 2001-2 season to satcaster BSkyB, cabler operators NTL and Telewest, and terrestrial platform ONdigital.

This will replace the defunct $466 million PPV deal the league had with NTL that collapsed last fall after the cabler determined it had offered too much for too little (Daily Variety, Oct. 19).

The pay-TV rights are exclusive to BSkyB, which is paying $1.56 billion for the three-year period. The satcaster will broadcast 66 live matches per season and also has first and second choice of the three matches that typically air over a weekend.

Premier League soccer and movies have proven to be BSkyB’s key subscription drivers.

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