Sky loses exclusive football deal

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Well I guess Sky always knew that this day was going to come, but that probably doesn’t make it any more palatable for the satellite broadcaster. The company, which has developed a hugely profitable business out of its exclusive deal to screen Premiership footballs games, now knows that as of 2007 it will have to share the matches with other broadcasters.

In a decision announced today the head of the Premier League Richard Scudamore confirmed that there would now be six broadcast packages up for grabs in 2007 with broadcasters able to screen up to 23 live matches per season. It is expected that the newly merged NTL/Telewest cable company will join the BBC, ITV, Channel Five and of course Sky in bidding for the rights.

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The move to change the way football is screened in the UK has largely been forced by the European Commission which sees Sky’s monopoly on the live games as anti-competitive.

While there’s no denying that Sky has built an empire from Premiership football, the satellite broadcaster obviously knew the day it would lose a chunk of the football was coming and has been moving into new areas such as HDTV and broadband.

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