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07/01/2012 by

Apple & Google Bid For UK Football TV Rights?

Insiders say that Apple and Google are likely to enter the auction for the Premier League football TV rights in the UK. Both tech companies could easily afford the amount. What are the odds? And what could be the impact…

The incumbent holders of the live football rights, BSkyB and ESPN, will bid again, with the Disney-owned global sports broadcaster likely to want to improve on its existing position if having one contract for 23 live matches per season.

Under the most recent deal, which runs until the end of next season, Sky paid around £1.6bn for its 115 live matches per season.

Both BSkyB and ESPN are likely to face competition from Al-Jazeera, which recently secured the French rights to live Champions League football from next season.

The income from the Premier League overseas rights has continued to grow and some analysts believe that it could outstrip domestic revenue for the first time under the next auction.

In all the current deal is worth £3.5bn over three years, with £2.1bn coming from domestic broadcasters and £1.4bn from overseas.

Why would Apple and Google want the Premier League TV rights?

The Apple scenario?

Personally I doubt that Apple will be the bidder or buyer. But certain is that Apple will heavily attack the TV “device” market with its Apple TV.

So to catch up with i.e. Samsung and LG in this market, Apple would certainly consider pulling a stunt like this.
And let’s not forget, a male football loving audience in the UK, also includes millions of Techno Toms and Techno Petes, willing to buy another Apple device!

And live football, could also fuel the iPad sales for Apple.

But Apple’s model has relied on taking a cut of the revenue from existing content producers, by retailing its content through its AppStore or iTunes service.

And Sky already shows its live matches on Apple devices through its SkyGo application, and the Premier League has a deal to sell packages of archive content through iTunes.

So in my opinion, Apple would stay not participate in the auction. If they would, Apple TV must have high targets…

The Google scenario?

Personally I consider Google, which owns YouTube, a more likely bidder. The live rights would not be a major investment for Google.

Certainly not if you know that Google paid $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility.

Google is also expected to announce an internet television platform over the next 12 months. And Google has already done live events at YouTube.

And we all know that Google and YouTube want to grab a large chunk of the TV budgets as well.

If you are interested in Google’s greed and TV needs, you might want to read this blog post: About YouTube, The Indian & The Dead Horse

Any Google bid for the football TV rights could be complicated, because of its YouTube ownership, which is embroiled in a long running legal stand-off with the Premier League and other rights owners over copyright issues.

This recent article: Addressable TV: Re-evolution Of The Medium TV includes a relevant presentation.

And shows that nothing is impossible in the new world of television…
Follow me on twitter if you’d like to stay tuned on similar topics.

And I would love to hear your opinion, please share them in the comments below.

Sources: Huffpost, theguardian and Pocket-lint


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Igor Beuker
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Comments (6)

  • Rick Dauvillier 07/01/2012, 13:32

    Nice insights Igor!

    Imagine to how the TV world would look like over a few years.

    With request on information (RFI) you can see the latest results of a team, get a quick overview of the line up and the players.

    The social aspect, having a live chat (on your tablet) about tactics, while watching the match on your TV.

    Even do a last minute bet on the match, or buy some merchandise during the break.

    These are just quick thoughts but are so likely to change the way we use TV. And let’s not forget the opportunity for brands to build whole new brand experiences around your passion.

    I really think that in this post PC world the TV will become the digital HUB in our household.


  • Hey Rick,

    Thinking about that re-evolution many times!

    You could be right about that. On the other hand, digital individuals as we have become, the “second screen” might also become our first screen…

    Meaning, we will have our individual screens connected to one HUB. And the old TV set, will just be the HUB, facilitating our individuals needs in content, interactions etc on any screen we want it.

    Intesting times for sure!


  • Rick Dauvillier 09/01/2012, 16:31

    Definitely and we are already experiencing this. Social, Local and Mobile technology (SoLoMo) already provides us with content on the spot. This has changed and continues to change the way we consume content.


    • Peter Hazenberg 11/01/2012, 15:14

      Indeed, we will stay individuals. In our choices, so therefore, if within our chosen environment and enjoying our own content (e.g. watching tv, or enjoying the content on the tablet, or the smartphone), we will appreciate options which are ‘created’ and offered based on my preference (profile). It will, when the usibility is friendly and not too much pushed on a commercial base, be added value for me. This is looking at it from the consumer pespective.

      As marketer I do see major opportinities for more ‘Adressable TV’. The media power (and audience) still is massive, so targetting the info/offers (and interactions with the brand) on a personal level will bring renewed businessmodels for every related (and new partners).

      Great times are heading our way.

      Greetz. Waiting for more of this stuff;-)

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