How Premier League TV rights work and how they impact your costs and subscriptions


In May 2021, the Premier League confirmed it would extend its £5.1billion television deal, running from this season to the end of the 2024-25 campaign.

It is by far the most lucrative deal signed in world football. Only the National Football League (NFL) and cricket’s Indian Premier League (IPL) generate more domestic revenue per game than the English top flight.

Since its inception, the Premier League has been financially stronger than almost all its peers and has become an international juggernaut — on the current deal, overseas TV rights are worth more than domestic rights.

Premier League TV rights

Period UK rights Overseas rights


£214 million

£40 million


£743 million

£98 million


£1.38 billion

£178 million


£1.13 billion

£325 million


£1.88 billion

£625 million


£1.95 billion

£1.44 billion


£3.2 billion

£2.23 billion


£5.34 billion

£3.1 billion


£5.01 billion

£4 billion


£5 billion

£5.05 billion

The money spent by English clubs in the January transfer is perhaps the best indicator of the income being generated by such eye-watering sums.

Premier League clubs spent £815million ($966m) in transfer fees — albeit propped up by Chelsea’s £280million spending spree — compared to just £220million by all clubs in the four other major European leagues combined.

So, how is it worked out and which broadcasters, domestically and internationally, can show matches?

How does the dividing of TV rights work in the UK?

In the UK, 200 of the 380 matches during the Premier League season are shown on TV.

Those 200 games are split into seven packages which the broadcasters — Sky, BT and Amazon — can bid for.

PL domestic TV rights packages

Package Total games Kick-off times



Saturday 12:30pm



Saturday 5:30pm



Sunday 2pm (24 matches) and Saturday 7:45pm (8 matches)



Sunday 4:30pm



Monday 8pm or Friday evening (24 matches) and Sunday 2pm (8 matches)



One set of Bank Holiday fixtures and one set of midweek fixtures



Two sets of midweek fixtures

Sky Sports dominates the current UK cycle with the rights to packages B, C, D and E, equating to 128 matches per season.

Packages A and G are owned by BT Sport — soon to be TNT Sports — and Amazon Prime has moved into the space in recent years, acquiring package F.

The current broadcasting cycle began at the start of the current season and runs until the end of the 2024-25 campaign.

The rights for that period were agreed in May 2021 and, because the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were still being felt, the Premier League agreed with its domestic broadcasters to roll over the same deal.

For more on how the broadcasters choose which fixtures they show, go deeper below.

And what about abroad?

The overseas TV rights market has become as important in terms of revenue as the domestic market.

It is also much more complex as a broadcaster must be sought in each country/region.

In almost all those countries, one broadcaster has the monopoly for broadcast rights — in the United States, NBC signed a £2billion agreement in late 2021 to exclusively show the Premier League to its audience over six years, starting this season.

US internationals Weston McKennie (left) and Tyler Adams (right) both play for Leeds United, increasing interest in the North American market (Photo: Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

Because the Saturday afternoon blackout only applies in the UK, foreign broadcasters are allowed to show each of the 380 games live.

NBC fought off competition from ESPN, CBS and FuboTV. The matches NBC does not broadcast can be watched exclusively on its streaming platform Peacock.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Viaplay Group (formerly Nordic Entertainment or NENT) signed a similarly seismic deal with the Premier League in February 2020. Again, it was worth in the region of £2billion, but for the broadcast rights in several countries — initially the deal included Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden before Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands and Poland were added in July 2021.

Although foreign fans get to watch more broadcast matches than fans in the UK, they will not be able to attend Premier League matches in their own countries any time soon, despite rumours last season that fixtures abroad were being considered — similar to what the NFL, NBA and MLB do in Europe. Premier League CEO Richard Masters said last August that it was not one of the items on the agenda at PL headquarters.

What happens to the money paid by TV companies?

The money paid by broadcasters is divided between the 20 Premier League clubs.

The domestic revenue generated is split into three sections, as per the league’s website: 50 per cent is divided equally between the clubs, 25 per cent is awarded on a merit basis, determined by final league positions, and 25 per cent is distributed as a facilities fee for televised matches.

On the back of Manchester City’s triumphant 2021-22 season, they received a total payment of over £153million from the Premier League, an increase of half a million from the season before. The breakdown looked like this:

Manchester City 21-22 PL revenue

Payment Amount 20-21 difference

Equal share (domestic)

£31,808, 969


Facility fees (domestic)



Merit payment (domestic)



Equal share (international)



Merit payment (international)



Central commercial






As their last two title-winning campaigns fell under the same TV rights cycle, the difference between payments was relatively minor.

The merit payments — awarded in accordance with final league position — will increase significantly during this new, more lucrative cycle. The payment for finishing top will rise by more than £20million while the bottom-placed club will receive £106million, an increase of almost £10million.

Once payments to the member clubs have been calculated, the Premier League must work out how much it owes to the pyramid beneath, which is paid to help clubs in the English Football League (EFL).

Included in that contribution are parachute payments given to the relegated Premier League clubs of the last three seasons to assist their transitions into the Championship.

Sheffield United, West Bromwich Albion, Burnley, Norwich City and Watford are all benefitting from those payments.

When do the next rights become available for purchase?

The domestic cycle runs until the end of the 2024-25 Premier League season, so until then, there will be no change to the broadcasting deal.

In some countries, such as the US and Scandinavia, there is an even longer wait for any interested parties that want to get involved.

Presuming the success of the Premier League continues through to the end of this cycle, an almighty scrap for the rights may ensue when they next become available.

The tendering process is set to start later this year, when the Premier League will go to market for the first time in six years. A decision is likely to be made at the conclusion of the 2023-24 season, when there will be 12 months left of the cycle.

A proportion of fans in the UK continue to hope for a Netflix-style streaming service — Premflix, if you will — when the next cycle rolls around, similar to the iFollow system that has been a feature in the EFL.

However, the logistics make that change very unlikely in just over two years.

“The Premier League is a prized asset,” explains Paolo Pescatore, the founder and technology, media and telecommunications analyst at PP Foresight. “If they suddenly said, ‘We are not going to do the broadcast deals and instead support our own platforms’, it’s highly unlikely they will get the same value overnight.

“They are then reliant on the millions of users, who are accustomed to tuning in for a subscription channel, to suddenly download a ‘Premier League+ app’, then pay a fee and then depend on the wifi network they have to deliver a quality stream which is highly likely to suffer from significant latency.

“It’s very clear, certainly for this cycle, that it won’t be streaming only.”

FIFA is, however, showing how a gradual transition to streaming can be executed — its recent The Best awards ceremony was streamed live on FIFA+.

FIFA broadcasted The Best awards ceremony via their streaming platform FIFA+ (Photo: Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images)

“If you look at what FIFA has done with FIFA+,” said Pescatore. “That is clearly a sense of where they want to go in the future, but they haven’t done it overnight.”

Having recently entered the football space with coverage of MLS, there is an expectation that Apple TV will throw its hat in the ring for Premier League rights later this year.

Rumours of its interest will worry those in charge of Sky Sports, whose domination of the domestic rights is yet to have been truly tested since the inception of the Premier League in 1992.

Apple TV is unlikely to be able do in England what it has done with MLS — its 10-year deal in the US allows them to stream every match live.

That is not an option with the Premier League, where almost half of games cannot be broadcast live domestically.

Why can’t UK viewers watch every Premier League match live?

Most weekends, there will be four or five Premier League games on the TV. Two of those will be shown on Saturday (12:30pm and 5:30pm), two on Sunday (2pm and 4:30pm), and often one on Friday or Monday evening.

That usually leaves five matches not broadcast, the majority of which kick off at 3pm on Saturdays.

The reason is this: Article 48 of UEFA’s statutes allows member nations to select a two-and-a-half-hour weekend slot where live football is banned from being shown on TV.

That was introduced in England in 1987 when ITV struck a deal with the Football League.

From the outside looking in, it perhaps looks counterintuitive that football is blocked from being broadcast on TV, but the decision was made by UEFA, the FA and broadcasters to protect attendances at stadiums and encourage participation in grassroots football.

It was decided that English football’s blackout would fall between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on a Saturday, preventing any 3pm kick-off from being shown.

Recently, that has led to plenty of fans illegally streaming matches.

The EFL has asked to be able to show matches at 3pm on a Saturday as part of the broadcast deal it is looking to broker, but Masters says the Premier League has no plans to get rid of the blackout for now.

“We’ve been proponents of Article 48 for the entire period of the Premier League and I don’t see that changing in the near term,” said the Premier League CEO at the Financial Times’ Business of Football summit.

How much does it cost to watch every live Premier League match over a season in the UK?

Considering not every game can be watched in the UK, the cost of watching the games that are broadcast is high, especially when compared to the cost of watching all of the games in other countries.

To watch all 200 games that are broadcast in the UK, customers need to have Sky Sports, BT Sport and Amazon Prime.

A Sky Q box with the correct Sky Sports package is £46 per month. That increases to £74 when BT Sport is added. Amazon Prime costs another £8.99 per month, bringing the total to £82.99 per month.

It should be mentioned that all three of those services include more than just Premier League football.

A Sky Sports package can includes EFL and Bundesliga football, Formula One, cricket and golf, as well as some NFL and NBA action. BT Sport has the Champions League and Europa League as well as Serie A, Ligue 1 and other sports.

Amazon Prime, meanwhile, is far more than just 20 Premier League games per season.

However, there is no option with any of those companies to pay a simple subscription for just Premier League football, which leads to many football fans seeking cheaper alternatives, in most cases illegal streaming services.

There is some live football available on other TV channels in the UK, although the games are few and far between, and they still require a licence, which costs £159 per year. These broadcasts include:

  • Major international tournaments, which are shown on BBC and ITV
  • FA Cup across BBC and ITV
  • 10 La Liga fixtures per season on ITV
  • 22 WSL fixtures on BBC and 75 on the FA Player

What about highlights and radio coverage?

BBC’s Match of the Day is considered a pillar of British broadcasting, though its place in football’s weekly calendar is under threat.

Since 2016, Sky Sports has held the rights to the immediate extended highlights. Every weekend, the Sky Sports YouTube channel is flooded with highlights from the Premier League games.

Highlights for the Saturday fixtures can be posted at 5.15pm once the blackout is finished and they can be posted immediately after full-time for games on any other days.

Meanwhile, those wanting to watch Match of the Day have to wait until around 10.30pm on Saturday evening, when it is broadcast on BBC One. BBC Sport’s Premier League package also includes Match of the Day 2, which shows highlights from Sunday’s matches, and Football Focus, which is a magazine-style programme.

In terms of radio coverage, talkSPORT and BBC share the rights. The games are split as follows:

Premier League radio coverage split

Package Match slot Rights holder


Saturday 3pm (1st pick)



Saturday 3pm (2nd pick)



Saturday 12:30pm



Saturday 5:30pm



Sunday 2pm



Sunday 4:30pm



Friday/Monday 7:30pm-8pm and any displaced fixtures


Where are we at with streaming Premier League matches?

Streaming live sport over wifi presents issues — the lag time means that customers are not seeing the action as quickly as they would be via the traditional broadcasters on TV.

In the UK, the only games that are streamed are the 20 allocated to Amazon Prime across the season.

“Everyone is trying to think how do they reach a new audience, connect with new people and maximise revenue but, technically, we’re not there yet in terms of being able to stream sport at scale,” said Pescatore.

“While streaming might represent the future, it is not as simple as doing it straight away. I don’t believe the infrastructure is at a point where it can support simultaneous streams of football matches into everyone’s houses.”

 (Top photo: Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

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