The English Premier League has confirmed its position as one of world sport's most popular tournaments by announcing a new television broadcast deal worth over £1 billion ($1.55 billion) more than the existing agreement.
EPL chief executive Richard Scudamore said Wednesday they had sold their live television broadcast rights to Sky, one of their existing satellite broadcasters, and BT, best known as a telecommunications company, for a total of £3.018 billion.
Sky have bought five of the seven available packages for the seasons 2013/14 to 2015/16, totalling 116 matches per year.
BT have acquired the rights for 32 matches that season but their package includes 18 of the 38 first-choice picks.
It all means the Premier League have secured an impressive £1.254 billion increase on the current deal, which is shared between Sky and ESPN.
Scudamore said the thrilling climax to last season, when Manchester City won the title in injury time on the final day, contributed to the increase.
"We have just come off the back of a fantastic season and it has been good for us," Scudamore said.
"We went to the market at the right time. It was a very competitive process which if you are selling is a very good thing."
Andrea Radrizzani, the chief executive of MP and Silva, who negotiate global sports rights for a variety of competitions, including Spanish football's elite La Liga, said the "surprising" rise in Premier League rights was another indication of its global appeal.
"The surprisingly high rise in the value of the Premier League's new broadcast deal in the UK is a further demonstration of the ever increasing popularity of the competition," Radrizzani said in a statement sent to AFP.
"Today's announcement reinforces that an increasing number of fans are consuming sport through digital media, suggesting that BT will be one of a great many new entrants into sports broadcasting in the coming year."
Clubs such as Manchester United have a global following as do players such as Chelsea's Didier Drogba.
And Radrizzani added: "Given millions of football fans in Asia stay up through the night to ensure they never miss their favourite English club or Premier League player, it is clear the attraction of the Premier League is truly global and is only going to get more popular."