The head of BT Sport has said he expects the coronavirus pandemic to lead to a dampening of the value of sports rights.
Simon Green was speaking ahead of the restart of the Premiership, one of the sports broadcaster’s key properties. BT is in the penultimate year of its contract for England’s top-flight rugby competition.
Reported in The Guardian, Green said the past 30 years had seen inflationary increases each time a new contract was negotiated.
“I personally believe that Covid-19 will cause a correction in the markets for television sports rights which will mean the value will not rise as it has done in the past,” said Green. “I think everyone will be more discerning about what they pay given that the country is facing a potential recession which could leave viewers with less money in their pockets.”
The importance of live sport to the nation was demonstrated by the surge in audience figures for the Bundesliga that went from 100,000 pre-lockdown to 750,000 on the competition’s return.
BT Sport, which shares the rights to the Premier League with Sky Sports, BBC and Amazon, joined with its rivals to screen the remaining matches.
It’s estimated over 25 million viewers watched at least one game.