Premier League rights expected to raise pounds 2bn

The scramble for TV rights to live UK football began in earnest this week as both the Premier League and Football Association published tenders for their TV rights.

The scramble for TV rights to live UK football began in earnest

this week as both the Premier League and Football Association published

tenders for their TV rights.



The initiatives could see more than pounds 2bn poured into English

football over the next three years.



The Premier League put a series of packages up for grabs across a

three-year period. BSkyB and NTL look set to battle it out for the main

deal - 66 live games a season - with BSkyB seen as the most likely

victor.



Observers say the deal could fetch up to pounds 1.2bn.



BSkyB and NTL are also likely to compete, along with ONdigital, for the

rights to an additional 40 live games offered on a pay-per view (PPV)

basis for the first time.



The PPV rights should have a price tag of pounds 540m across the three

years.



Bidders for the live and PPV rights will also be invited to submit

proposals for sub-licensing the matches via video-on-demand and WAP

mobile technology.



Two highlights packages - for Saturday and Sunday - will be available to

free-to-air broadcasters only. The BBC and ITV are front-runners,

although Channel 4 and Channel 5 may also bid. The price tag is

predicted to be between pounds 120m and pounds 180m a package.



Individual clubs will be able to show their own Saturday, Sunday and

Monday games via their web sites or TV channels within 72 hours of the

matches being played.



The FA also published its tender this week. It is seeking bids for the

Axa-sponsored FA Cup, England games and other properties, such as the

Charity Shield and women’s football.



The contenders

The ’Crown Jewels’ - 66 live matches

BSkyB; NTL

40 pay-per-view games

BSkyB; NTL; ONdigital

Free-to-air highlights (Saturday)

BBC, ITV - major contenders

C4 and C5 - likely to bid

Free-to-air highlights (Sunday)

BBC, ITV - major contenders

C4 and C5 - likely to bid

Archived internet/TV rights

The 20 Premiership clubs to broadcast their own games up to 24 hours

after matches have been played

Video-on-demand/WAP rights

Bidders for live and pay-per-view games to put forward sub-licensing

proposals.



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