Domestic EPL TV broadcast monopoly to end

According to an agreement between the English Premier League and the European Commission competition authorities, exclusive domestic television broadcasting coverage of live Premier League football will come to an end when the next rights deal starts from 2007. The decision to break up the exclusive deal enjoyed by BSkyB will see live broadcasts split into six "balanced" packages, with no single broadcaster able to buy them all.

NTL, the cable company, said it had always lobbied for a 50:50 split of the rights. The broadcaster, which recently mergered with Telewest, said it would look at each rights package on its merits, but is not expected to challenge Sky for a significant proportion of the games.

"The commitments offered by the Premier League should ensure that the media rights are sold in a fair and transparent manner and give British football fans greater choice and better value," Neelie Kroes, the EU competition commissioner said, as quoted by Sports Business. News Ltd-associated BSkyB is currently paying £ 1.02 billion over three years for all live Premier League games through 2007.