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Sky could have to pay an £1.8 billion to retain the Premier League broadcast rights, an analyst has warned.

Competition from Amazon, Twitter and Facebook could see the broadcaster pay an extra £600 million per year (or £1.8 billion in total) for the rights, according to Citi bank. That would be an increase of 45 per cent on the near £4.2 billion Sky paid in the last three-year deal.

"We expect Sky to pay 40 per cent to 45 per cent more in the next Premier League rights auction," said Thomas Singlehurst, an analyst at Citi. "The base consensus is that payments go up by £600 million a year from the 2019-20 season."

Amazon recently outbid Sky for the rights to ATP World Tour tennis.

The Premier League rights are probably the biggest prize in sports broadcasting. Their value has shot up over the last few years, from £1 billion in 2004 to £5.14 billion split between Sky and BT in the last auction.

Sky currently pays £11 million per match.

The next auction will start before the end of the year, and is expected to conclude early in 2018. Last time, Sky won five of the seven available packages, and BT the remaining two.

Whether Sky can afford to hang onto this much of the Premier League is in doubt. It recently revamped its sports offering, and now offers sports-specific channels, so viewers can only subscribe to the sports they watch. It also slashed its prices in a bid to compete with cheaper streaming services.

Source: The Guardian

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