Premier League Bags $1 Billion More Annually From U.K. TV Rights

The Premier League, soccer’s biggest championship by sales, just got $1 billion a year richer with a record $7.84 billion broadcasting rights sale.

Sky Plc and BT Group Plc agreed to pay 70 percent more than they did in the last three-year cycle to televise 168 live games per season in the U.K. from the 2016-17 campaign. That works out to 700 million pounds ($1 billion) annually.

“That money will continue to be invested in players, clubs and new stadia,” Premier League Chief Executive Officer Richard Scudamore said at a Feb. 10 press conference in London. “It allows the clubs to plan for the future.”

The deal means Burnley, 17th in the Premier League, is now “bigger economically than Ajax,” the four-time European and 33-time Dutch champion, Scudamore said.

Ajax had 16.4 million euros ($18.6 million) in profit before extraordinary items on sales of 103.8 million euros in the year through June. According to the Lancashire Telegraph, promotion to the Premier League at the end of last season was worth 120 million pounds to Burnley, the English champion in 1921 and 1960, which had a loss of 4.2 million pounds on sales of 19.6 million pounds through June, according to its accounts.

“The current cycle of Premier League broadcast deals generates over 5.5 billion pounds in domestic and overseas rights fees, delivering a key competitive advantage for the English top flight compared to other European leagues,” Austin Houlihan, senior manager in the sports business group at Deloitte LLP, said in a statement. “This is strengthened hugely by the new live rights deals.”

Trade Boost

The income helps England’s top teams attract the best talent. Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal accounted for about half of the estimated 130 million pounds Premier League teams spent in the monthlong trading window that closed Feb. 2, Deloitte said.

Italy’s Serie A clubs invested about half the amount of the top 20 English teams on transfer fees, while squads from Germany’s Bundesliga and Spain’s La Liga spent less than half on signings.

Chelsea, seven points clear of Manchester City at the top of the league, had an 18.4 million-pound profit last year, boosted by player sales and broadcast income.

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