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Sky and BT could lose over £900m if sport remains postponed until August

By 26th March 2020 No Comments

Enders Analysis has looked into the impact of a long-term pause in live sport

Sky and BT could lose £928m if live sport is suspended until August, claims a report from Enders Analysis.

The broadcasters have been hit by postponements to live events as part of measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, Sky is allowing subscribers to pause their sport subscriptions and isn’t charging commercial clients such as pubs. Meanwhile, BT has told customers to call to discuss their options, and consumers on its flexible package can drop sport.

Currently the main draw for sport customers, the Premier League, is postponed until 30 April. Although it is unlikely that it will be able to continue then, with the UK in lockdown measures for the foreseeable future.

According to Enders Analysis: “The hypothesis informing governments assumes an initial three-month long lockdown. Group activities of 25 people involving close physical contact without protection will not plausibly be the first to be allowed when when some social life resumes.”

“Assuming a worst-case scenario of a four-month suspension of all sports coverage (British and foreign), with all sports subscribers pausing their contract and wholesale clients being allowed to follow suit, Sky would lose £700m and BT £228m in revenues.”

Beyond July, the pair may actually save money as rights payments would likely be postponed or cancelled. Sky and BT are scheduled to pay a combined £530m to the Premier League for a six-month licence at this point, and BT an extra £394m to UEFA for the Champions League.

Were there to be postponements or cancellations to the TV rights payments, it would likely cause major problems for clubs – who heavily rely on them to fund themselves.

Recently, the Southampton chief executive claimed that the current season could restart before restrictions are lifted and be completed by the end of June.

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