Television

Sky bags English Premier League rights

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MUMBAI: The English Premier League (EPL) has awarded three live television rights packages to British pay television service BSkyB in the first sale of broadcasting contracts under new European Union rules.

BSkyB, which has had a monopoly on live league broadcasts since 1992, won three of the six packages that went on sale. Bidding for the remaining packages will begin shortly. EPL says, 'The FA Premier League is in a position to announce that it has awarded three out of the six packages of live rights to BSkyB. We will be proceeding to a second round of bidding for the remaining three packages in due course.in due course".

BSkyB has used soccer to help attract eight million subscribers, making it the U.K.'s biggest pay-TV company. Its 1.02 billion pound purchase of the sole rights to 138 live games for three seasons under the existing accord had prompted the European Commission to order the league to split the sale into six packages and award no more than five to any one company.

Media reports indicate that The Premier League has never revealed the mechanics of the auction process, but it understood that it reserved the right to re-open the bidding in the event that offers were either too low, or if there was little to choose between two competing bids.

The rules allow for third and subsequent rounds of bidding, with the provision that the auction concludes by the start of next season in mid-August.

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