Manchester United have become one of the prized assets for television companies in the UK trying to increase their viewership. Sky has been regularly broadcasting Manchester United matches over the last 20 years. The 13-time Premier league champions have also been shown live on television more than any other club during this period. This looks set to continue even after the arrival of BT to the Premier league competition. BT have paid in excess of £ 700 million for Premier league rights in the next three years. This is seen as the biggest threat for Sky since they started showing Premier league matches more than two decades ago.
Sky have decided to eliminate the competition from the start itself by deciding to show majority of the Manchester United and Chelsea matches in the first five weeks of the campaign. Only one Manchester United match will not be shown live on Sky in the first five weeks. They have the first refusal when it comes to televised games during the first 20 weeks of the campaign. They are prepared to use it from the word go, as they regard the threat from BT as a serious one. Premier league football revenues have consistently grown due to the new and bigger TV deals.
“The first round of televised fixtures announced this morning will demonstrate just how seriously Sky is taking the challenge of its latest rival by ensuring it keeps an iron grip on the champions’ high-profile matches from August until November. With the champions being English football’s biggest draw in terms of television audience, Sky’s decision to top-load its schedule with games involving them appears a no-brainer,” read a report on Daily Telegraph.
United managed to win the record 20th league title last season. Even after the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, there are still a tremendous pulling power.