In the wake of the announcement by the English Premier League (EPL) of the “largest sports media rights deal ever concluded in the UK[1] at the end of last year, this article considers key takeaways, as well as how this latest EPL deal compares to previous deals and those of other major international sports leagues.

How does the new EPL deal for 2025/26 compare with previous deals?

It is plain to see that the value of this newly announced deal is a far cry from the EPL’s inaugural broadcast deal signed in May 1992.  Under that initial deal, Sky paid £304 million for the first 5 seasons of the EPL from 1992/93 to 1996/97, which was, at the time, the biggest TV deal in the history of British sport. Rupert Murdoch famously indicated in October 1996 at the annual general meeting of News Corporation that he intended to use sport as a “battering ram” for his global pay TV business, recognising and forecasting at the time that “Football, of all sports, is number oneSport will remain very important and we [i.e. News Corporation] will be investing in and acquiring long-term rights”[2].

Since 1992, Sky and the EPL have enjoyed a symbiotic relationship. Rising media rights fees have allowed EPL clubs to attract and retain top talent, thus enhancing the attractiveness and popularity of the league.  In turn, that attractiveness and popularity has, for the most part, and as Murdoch predicted, driven Sky’s subscription business. The latest domestic EPL media rights deal is worth a total of £6.7 billion over a 4 year cycle, beginning with the 2025/26 season.

Nevertheless, in recent years there appears to have been a levelling of the EPL’s domestic rights market.  The EPL’s existing TV deal (running from 2022/23 – 2024/25) is reported to be worth £5bn – but over a 3 year cycle (compared to the 4 years under the new deal). When considered on a per season basis, the uplift from the current to the new deal is only marginal – up to £1.67 billion per season from £1.62 billion under the existing deal (an increase in just over 3%). What is also significant is that the 2019/20 – 2021/22 and 2022/23 – 2024/25 deals themselves represented a slight dip from the heights of the deal struck in 2015, under which Sky and BT together paid £5.136 billion for a 3 year deal (i.e. £1.712 billion per season) during seasons 2016/17 to 2018/19.

It is also important to note that more games will be shown live under the new deal than under previous deals.  Whilst the exact number will depend on the success of EPL teams in European competition, there are roughly 270 games likely to be broadcast per season under the new deal. This is up from 200 games under the existing deal and 168 games under the 2016/17 – 2018/19 deal. When this is taken into account, there is in fact a decrease in the per game value of the rights under the new deal (approx. £6.2m per game) when compared with the value under both the existing deal (approx. £8.11m per game) and the 2016/17 – 2018/19 deal (approx. £10.19m per game).

How does the new EPL deal compare with football media rights deals of other European leagues?

Whilst there has only been a marginal increase in value on a per season basis in the newly announced EPL domestic broadcast deal, the primacy of the EPL’s deal is clear when compared with the domestic media rights landscape across, what are generally regarded to be, the other top 5 leagues in Europe.

  • In France, the French Football Association ended up cancelling its media rights auction for the 2024-2029 cycle in October and then negotiating with broadcasters directly, after the bids in the tender process for its main packages reportedly did not meet the reserve prices.
  • In Italy, Serie A clubs voted in October to approve bids from DAZN and Sky, which together totalled 4.5 billion EUR (£3.91bn) from the 2024/25 – 2028/29 season at a value of 900 million EUR (£783.3m) per season.
  • In Spain, La Liga is currently in the second season of its 5 season partnership (until the end of the 2026/27 season) with Telefonica and DAZN which is worth approximately 4.95 billion EUR (£4.3bn) at a value of approximately 990 million EUR (£861m) per season.
  • In Germany, under the Bundesliga’s current broadcasting deal, Sky and DAZN currently pay a combined 4.4 billion EUR (£3.83bn) over a 4 year period (until the end of 2024/25 season), at a value of approximately 1.1 billion EUR (£960m).  At the time of writing, the Bundesliga is taking the first steps in launching its next four year domestic broadcast tender (from the 2025/26 – 2028/29 season), having just released its public presentation outlining the proposed timetable for the process at the end of January.

How does the new EPL deal compare with the broadcast deals secured by international sports events outside of football?

The benchmark for bumper sports media rights is currently set by the NFL. In March 2021, it signed a series of 5 deals with NBC Sports, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, ESPN and Amazon, spanning 11 seasons (2023-33) reportedly at a collective value of $110 billion (£87.12bn) over that period. This equates to $10bn ($7.92bn) per year.  Industry sources indicate that this amount represented a rough doubling in the annual value than under the NFL’s prior deal[3].

Significantly, the NBA’s current nine year deal (up to the end of 2024/25 season) is scheduled to be up for negotiation in March, with the NBA’s 45 negotiation window with its incumbents, ESPN / ABC and TNT set to kick off on 9 March.  Under the current nine year deal, it is reported that the NBA receive approximately $24 billion (£19bn) at a value of $2.67bn (£2.11bn) per season[4]. This existing deal itself was almost triple the annual value ($930m / £737m per season) of its previous deal from season 2008/09 – 2015/16. 

It is also interesting to compare the recent media rights values achieved under the recent major cricket rights auction undertaken last year for the Indian Premier League (IPL) media rights.  Significantly, the rights for the IPL were sold in separate packages for streaming and TV rights, with Viacom18 acquiring a newly created streaming rights package for 5 seasons until 2027 for $3.05bn (£2.42bn) whilst Star India retained TV rights for $3.02bn (£2.4bn) over the same period[5]. This gave a combined rights value for both streaming and TV rights at over $6.07 bn (£4.82bn) for the 5 year period (or $1.2bn / £960m in total per season).  Significantly, this represents an increase on the previous 5 year deal for IPL rights for which Star India paid $2.4 bn (£1.9bn) in total (i.e. $480m / £380m per season).

What does the new EPL deal tell us about its approach to streaming?

It was interesting to see that there was no streaming-only provider that secured live rights under the EPL’s new broadcasting deal as there had been over the previous two cycles.  On the surface, this could be seen as a return to the “traditional” pay TV services offered by Sky Sports and TNT Sports (formerly BT Sport).  However, it is important to note that Sky Sports (through Now TV) and TNT Sports (through discovery+) both themselves incorporate streaming services into their offering.  The absence of streaming-first EPL licensees is arguably testament to the distinction between traditional broadcast and streaming delivery becoming increasingly blurred. As demonstrated by the split of rights awarded between TV and streaming rights for the IPL tender, the Indian market appears a notable exception given the proliferation of fans who watch sport (and predominantly cricket) through mobile devices in that market. 

In any event, the recent announcement of the proposed joint venture sports streaming service set to be launched by Fox, ESPN and Warner Bros. Discovery in the autumn and set to feature a broad range of professional and collegiate sports[6]; the scale of investment by leading international streaming service, DAZN, into sports rights across a number of territories; and the significant investment made by Apple on Major League Soccer rights (paying $2.5 billion for a 10 year worldwide deal), among other things, all point directly to consumer streaming not only being firmly established for delivery of top tier sports content, but becoming ever-increasingly prominent.  In this context, it is also particularly noteworthy that this season witnessed the NFL’s first streaming-only play-off game (Kansas City Chiefs v Miami Dolphins) on NBC Universal’s streaming service, Peacock.

Does the new EPL deal preserve the 3pm blackout?

Under the new deal, the EPL will, for the first time, allow all games outside of the protected 3pm kick-off slot to be shown live. This means that multiple games will be shown live simultaneously at 2pm on a Sunday. Particularly with the expansion of European competitions (including the new format of next season’s Champions’ League), it is likely that this Sunday at 2pm will become an increasingly popular slot.

However, the FA’s longstanding position in designating the period between 2:45pm and 5:15pm on Saturdays as a prohibited broadcast period within the UK to protect attendance at lower league games, remains unchanged by the new EPL deal.  As mentioned and commented on in a prior article on Sports Shorts, the 3pm blackout was temporarily lifted during the pandemic. Many commentators continued to advocate for the blackout to be lifted on a permanent basis as a key tool in combating the unauthorised distribution within the UK of pirated overseas coverage of 3pm Saturday EPL games. 

Despite being preserved under this new EPL deal, it will, however, be interesting to see whether the 3pm Saturday blackout ends up being lifted under the Women’s Super League broadcast deal.  One of the key recommendations in the review of women’s football, led by Karen Carney (and accepted by the Government), was to create a broadcast window for the Women’s Super League and Championship, and for the 3pm Saturday slot to be considered.

Concluding thoughts

The tempered per season increase in the EPL’s revenue under the new domestic rights deal as against the existing deal (as well as the slight dip when considered against the 2016-19 deal) is a gentle reminder that rights values are not immune from wider economic factors that businesses such as Sky and Warner Bros. Discovery face in selling their respective packages to consumers.  Nevertheless, as considered above, the new broadcasting deal cements the EFL’s place at the head of the top table so far as European domestic football media rights deals are concerned. Thoughts of those in the industry will already be focused on the EPL’s future deals and, amongst other things, whether there will be new competitors entering the fray.

Since this latest EPL deal covers the UK domestic rights only, the next round of overseas broadcast EPL deals will be eagerly anticipated. In February 2022, it emerged for the first time that the value of the EPL’s UK broadcast rights (£5 billion for the period 2022-25) would exceed the value of its overseas rights (£5.05 billion for the same period). Several analysts have forecast that the value of these overseas rights deals look set to increase further.  If so, this would likely further increase the gap between the overall media rights revenues of the EPL as against those of La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 and seemingly further strengthen the financial hand of EPL clubs as against their European rivals.

[1] Premier League agrees record £6.7bn domestic TV rights deal – BBC Sport

[2] Sport is Murdoch’s ‘battering ram’ for pay TV | The Independent | The Independent

[3] NFL inks 11-year media rights deal worth billions (

[4] The US$75bn media rights sale: Why all eyes are on the NBA TV deal that could change US sports broadcasting – SportsPro (


[6] Fox, ESPN and Warner Bros Discovery team up to launch ‘all in one’ sports streaming service | US television industry | The Guardian