Shares in Manchester United leapt 5% as investors welcomed the sale of Premier League television rights for a record £5.136bn, a rise of 71% on the last deal.
Amid widespread surprise at the size of the deal, even among football industry experts, Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore pledged money raised from the auction for rights to screen matches for three years from 2016 would be invested by clubs making improvements to stadiums as well as youth development and good causes.
Mr Scudamore also said the Premier League planned to invest £56m in grassroots projects, including 50 artificial pitches and called on clubs to address ticket prices to ensure stadiums were full.
Sky paid £4.2bn for five of the seven TV packages and BT paid £960m for the other two in the rights auction for the three years from 2016.
Sky’s outlay was 83% more than it was for the last contract three years ago while BT’s commitment was 18% more, although the number of live matches it screens will go up from 38 to 42 a year.
Mr Scudamore admitted he was surprised at the value of the deal saying: “Obviously we were very pleased with it (the deal).”
“The clubs have a product that they want to sell. It’s a good deal for everybody and all the other clubs in English football and all the other organisations and charities which depend on the Premier League revenues.
“They are paying for unscripted drama. There isn’t any other content you can buy that has that appeal.”
BT will pay £320m per season, against £246m per season it is currently paying. The communications giant said that equated to £7.6m per game.
Sky said it will pay £1.392bn per year, or £11.07m per match, to broadcast 126 live matches, 10 more than currently and the maximum Sky was allowed to bid for under the auction rules.
It means Sky will pay £4.1bn of the total £5.136bn deal. The Premier League television rights auction had been expected to raise as much as £4.4bn.
Sky admitted the amount it paid for the television rights was about £330m more than analysts had forecast.