We have long felt there would one day come a time when the English Premier League would take back its own broadcast rights and significantly magnify the already massive income it receives from fans insatiable appetite for the games.
Today that day may have come a little closer.
Last night the Premier League revealed the long-awaited result of the bidding to broadcast domestic coverage of the Premier League for a three year period from the 2019/20 season.
The winners were Sky Sports and BT Sport but the overall value of the deal did not soar again as it did last time but actually fell back with Sky getting better packages but paying £199 Million (€224 Million) less in each of the three years.
The top dog since 1992, Sky has reasserted its dominance in what it sees as the most important of its many sporting assets. It has taken four of the five packages announced last night with two smaller ones still to be announced.
It means the Sky will have the first pick of the games every weekend of the year. It will show a total of 128 live matches during the season, including for the first time, eight that will take place on Saturday nights at 19:45. There will be 32 games shown at the earlier time of 17:30 in a package won back from BT Sport
Monday Night Football remains on the Sky Sports Premier League Channel as will the familiar Super Sunday doubleheaders at 14:00 and 16:30.
BT Sport doubled down on the UEFA Champions League coverage in the current cycle and has shown what it described as a ‘disciplined’ approach to the Premier League taking the Saturday lunchtime package. It may still add to this with the Bank Holiday and midweek packages that have yet to be finalised.
The overall income derived from the rights so far in the new cycle is £4.46 Million (€5 Million). Sky has reduced its outlay by 16 percent.
Have no fear though that the Premier League clubs will now have to cut their cloth and return to a more realistic pattern of spending. Overseas rights income remain a massive income generator and they remain 30 percent ahead of their nearest rival the German Bundesliga in terms of the value of their TV deals for the home market.
It’s just that the steam has gone out of what seemed at times to be a never-ending rise of temperature around what broadcasters would be willing to pay.
The world of broadcast sport is changing every day, this though is a day that may stand out when we look back from the higher vantage point of history in years to come.