BT Vision secures 'near live' Premiership rights

UK telecoms giant BT has secured the rights to show 242 'near live' Premier League matches per season, in a three year deal that comes as the company prepares for the launch of its television-via-broadband service, BT Vision.

The telco will share the non-exclusive rights with satellite broadcaster BSkyB. Between them, the two companies paid a total of £84.3m.

Under the terms of the deal, BT Vision will be able to broadcast pre-recorded Premiership matches in full from 10pm on the day on which they are played. However, one game each Saturday will be available from 8.30pm.

All matches can be offered for a period of 50 hours after transmission, and football fans will be able to view them on a pay-per-view basis without first having to subscribe to BT Vision. The company has not yet revealed details of its charges.

BSkyB, which recently secured packages allowing it to show 92 live top-flight games per season, will share the rights with BT and, like the telco, it will offer full delayed coverage or extended highlights on a pay-per-view basis over the 2007-2008, 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 seasons.

Dan Marks, CEO of BT Vision said that this latest football rights deal was "a landmark moment for sports viewing in the UK, as BT Vision customers will have great control, convenience and choice over the games they want to watch without the need for an upfront subscription".

The MD of Sky Sports, Vic Wakeling, added: "These near-live rights, added to the live matches, give Sky Sports unrivalled Premiership coverage. We can now promise Football First until the end of the decade and new ways of watching games, on demand, through broadband".

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