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The head of the Premier League has defended the record-breaking £5 billion auction for live TV rights by saying football is "just an element" of quad-play offerings from the likes of Sky and BT.

Sky paid a record £4.2 billion for 75 per cent of live TV rights (126 games a season) for the 2016-2019 seasons. That's 83 per cent more than it paid at the last auction. BT secured the rights to 38 games per season for £960 million.

Speaking to the BBC, Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said: "Now it's a very different market.

"It isn't about Premier League content necessarily, it's about the wider sports offering that goes into a wider offering in terms of pay TV, that goes into a wider broadband offering and now, with the recent acquisition by BT of EE, and Sky with their interest in O2, it goes into a much wider competitive offering.

"But ultimately it's the show the clubs put on. That's what people are interested in buying."

Asked about the quad-play landscape, he said: "We're just an element of that now.

"Our deal pales into insignificance in terms of the acquisition of BT and EE, or even Sky's acquisitions of [Sky's companies in] Italy and Germany."

He refuted the allegation that the deal was obscene, saying it would make teams "more competitive" in Europe.

Not everyone is so chuffed.

Lord Sugar – who helped set up the Premier League – thinks the rights deal will damage the England team. He reckons young English players will be "starved" of games as clubs opt for expensive foreign talent instead.

"We don't have a chance of winning the World Cup again," he added.

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