Premier League clubs are set for another significant windfall with three of the United States’ biggest TV networks engulfed in a bidding war for rights to broadcast games from next season.
Earlier this week ESPN joined CBS and the existing broadcaster NBC in submitting their interest for the next cycle. The proposals were outlined to clubs at a shareholders’ meeting on Thursday by chief executive Richard Masters. A second round of bidding has been opened until next Monday.
NBC paid £1bn for the 2016-22 cycle with early indications that the current deal is going to rise by more than 50%.
Speaking at a conference in New York, as first reported by worldsoccertalk, the NBC Sports chairman Pete Bevacqua said the network had its “fingers crossed” that they would retain rights to broadcast English football.
But ESPN’s interest will have driven the price up further, with senior executive Burke Magnus, also speaking at the SBJ Media Innovators conference in New York, confirming the bid this week. The network already has rights to Bundesliga and La Liga games.
“[The Premier League rights] haven’t been available until now,” Magnus said, as first reported by worldsoccertalk.
“So, we ran our process. We did it with discipline. We’ll see [what happens]. [We’ve had] good conversations. We hope we understand what they were looking for as part of the process. And [I’m] excited to see where it goes.”
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The new deal will see total overseas broadcast income climb to more than £4bn for the 2022-25 cycle and, according to The Times, a £1.1bn agreement would see each club bank about £9m per season.
Following ESPN’s registeration of interest that number could climb to as high as £1.5bn.
An announcement is expected next week after clubs are informed of the winning bid on Monday.