Interesting row going on between Sky Sports and BT Sports at present. Sky Sports are arguing against BT Sports being allowed to buy advertising on the Sky Sports channels to promote the new channels they are launching next season.

Sky have compared the situation as like Tesco being allowed to advertise inside Sainsburys. It is an interesting situation and i recall a similar situation going back to 1998 when the now defunct On Digital Channel was in existence.

As that time I was Commercial Director of the Premier League, meeting with Sky Sports who had just invested some £600mill to acquire the rights to the Premier League, i advised that OnDigital were about to acquire perimeter advertising around the grounds during Premier League fixtures. Rather promptly Sky came up with £1mill to take over the deal. Looking back at that situation it really shocked me that Sky had not secured the exclusive rights at the grounds, but in those days there was so much focus on TV revenue and not commercial rights that it was somewhat overlooked.

Looking at the situation today with BT and Sky Sports, a similar situation presents itself. The Premier League teams have in the main outsourced their LED inventory to 3rd party companies and BT Sports could easily step in and secure advertising on LED during the matches. If they wished to go a step further BT Sport could…and maybe are considering acquiring high profile event or team sponsorship. One could well imagine the problem created if BT Sports was emblazed across the shirts of Premier League teams , being broadcast on Sky Sports.

Both sides have fair points to argue, although Sky would probably have the argument more in their favour to protect their rights, having been involved and supported the Premier League from Day1. Will be interesting to see how this unfolds over the coming weeks.

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