Media groups aiming to break the monopoly digital satellite broadcaster BSkyB has had over live English Premier League football rights since 1993 have until Thursday to place revised bids for the three remaining packages on offer.
Sky won three of the six packages on Friday and is understood to be facing competition from UK cable group ntl, Channel 4 and Setanta, which has signed a new four-year exclusive deal for Scottish Premier League rights.
Under European Commission rules no individual media group can own all six packages for the three-year rights starting in August 2007, which means Sky could end up with five of the six groups of matches.
Sky has used its exclusive Premiership rights to drive subscriptions, originally for its analogue service, then from 1998 for its digital offering. Sky will be broadcasting all English Premiership matches in high definition from the beginning of the next season in August as part of its Sky HD service, launching this month.
Premier League and Sky will not comment on the amount paid by Sky, or which packages of 23 games each had already been won, but they are said to be:
BSkyB—which reports latest results tomorrow—paid £1.024bn for the current package of live matches in a deal with the Premier League in 2003.
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