THE Premier League has announced a staggering 70 per cent increase in the value of its British television rights for the 2016-19 seasons with Sky and BT Sports paying a combined £5.136billion to show games.
The new deals will see even more money flood in to the top flight, with the broadcasters paying more than £10million to screen each game.
It leaves the rest of club football across the world far behind in terms of domestic television income compared to the Premier League - which also still has the lucrative overseas deals to negotiate.
It makes it even more important for clubs like Sunderland to retain their top-flight status.
Sky has held on to five of the seven packages totalling 126 matches including the new Friday night slot for 10 games, while BT Sport has two packages making up 42 matches.
Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said: “Premier League clubs deliver competitive and compelling football to fans in stadiums and on television, driving interest levels to new heights.
“Last season saw record levels of attendance with the highest top-flight crowds since 1949-50, as well as increased viewing figures across all our UK rights holders.
“Both Sky Sports and BT Sport have done a tremendous job in bringing the game to the fans as well as providing the revenue that allows clubs to invest in football, facilities, youth development and their communities.
“It is an endorsement of what the Barclays Premier League delivers that these broadcast partnerships have been extended and enhanced today. We are grateful for the continued belief that Sky Sports and BT Sport have in the Premier League and our clubs, both as a sporting competition and organisations to work with.”
Sky will pay £4.176billion for the lion’s share of the rights including the Sunday evening ‘jewel in the crown’ package, while BT Sport will pay £960million. BT Sport will have the Saturday evening package, however, instead of the Saturday lunchtime slot.
Scudamore said the Premier League was confident the rights sale would not be de-railed by Virgin Media’s ongoing complaint with the broadcast regulator Ofcom.
He said: “Although we have had a successful outcome for this process, following on from the highlights’ award, there is still the ongoing Ofcom investigation to be concluded. We remain confident that the Premier League’s live UK broadcasting rights are sold in a way that is compatible with both UK and EU competition law as well as being of great benefit to the whole of English football.”
He added: “This outcome provides a degree of certainty so clubs can continue to invest and run themselves in a sustainable manner; it also allows us to start planning how the Premier League can continue to support the rest of the football pyramid from the grassroots upwards.
“This structure also allows us to strike a balance between match-attending fans and those who choose to watch on television. Keeping grounds full is a priority for the Premier League and our clubs, and I am sure the flexible ticketing policies that have helped keep attendances so high will continue to develop.”