Premiership football over the last decade has been marked by increasingly gigantic transfer budgets, record breaking wages and the consolidation of a good number of teams who are now too wealthy and influential to ever find themselves in a relegation scrap. Partly, this has been driven by increased attention on the league and its standing within Europe, but it's largely been driven by television rights sold in the UK and around the globe, of which each team receives a significant cut. Those rights are auctioned off in the UK every three years in a blind auction, so that none of the bidders know of each other nor how much they're bidding on each other the seven packages.
Over the last few auctions, this has lead to spiralling prices paid out by the likes of Sky Sports and a massive influx of cash into the top league of the sport, greatly increasing the funding gap between England's top tier and second tier of football. For example, during the 2009 auction, the cost for all 7 packages was £1.79 billion, but the cost of the 2012 auction reached £3 billion. To put that in perspective, that means that the money the top team used to earn from rights in 2010 was the same amount of money that the relegated team in 2013 earned.
Over the coming days, Sky and BT will find out which one of them has won which packages, and how much they'll have to pay for the honour. Sky were understandably perturbed when BT came out of nowhere in 2012 to win 3 of the 7 packages and put a serious dent in Sky Sports' claim as the place to go for Premier League football. Sky have been taking calls via Sky contact number freephone ever since, and keeping those customers happy will be crucial to Sky's continued success. For BT also, the rights are more important than ever, as they've now got a large sports channel of their own to look after. As such, bidding is expected to reach around £5 billion this year, which would consolidate the Premier League as the best funded football league in the world.
Alongside this issue, Virgin Media have asked Ofcom to investigate the number of Premier League games on TV, which could see the number of Premier League games on TV shoot up, alongside the cost of the rights package. Theoretically, this could lead to a much greater number of broadcasters holding rights to Premier League games and the Sky freephone number could get a break from fans, who would have many more games to watch on TV. The downside, the Premier League's governing body states, is that fans might stop attending games if most are on TV, which would lead to a funding shortfall and the loss of all atmosphere at games, which they argue would destroy the sport.
That issue won't be resolved for a number of years yet though, and Sky must currently focus on the rights auction as is, hoping to get enough rights to justify the high price of their sports packages.
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