The Premier League has opened its bidding process for rights to live games and highlights packages from 2016/17 to 2018/19, here we take a look at how it could impact on the League of Ireland.
The current rights deal, which Sky and BT are part of cost £3.018 billion back in 2012 which was an increase of 77% on the deals previous to this, according to the BBC.
As part of the new Monday night package, the broadcaster that gains the rights to Monday’s matches will also acquire the rights to the new Friday night package.
So how will this impact the League of Ireland?
Up to ten Premier League games could be offered as part of the new package.
This figure will be reduced due to the LOI’s spring to autumn schedule. However, this development will be worrying for LOI clubs already struggling to attract significant attendances every Friday night.
Up until 2019, this doesn’t appear to be a major issue due to the height of Ireland’s football season taking place in the summer.
However, if the figure should increase beyond ten matches, which is a possibility due to the 3pm blackout in the UK suspending stations from broadcasting football at 3pm on Saturdays, then this would become further competition for the league to have to withstand.
The most drastic implementation the league has taken to compete with bigger and more popular leagues has been to convert to summer soccer; with the Premier League now offering games for broadcast on Friday nights concurrent with LOI matches, will the proverbial goalposts have to be shifted once again?
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena