LONDON (AFP) - The Premier League is due to announce a record new domestic television rights deal worth over £4 billion (S$8.2 billion) after a bidding war for the 2016-19 period.
BT muscled in on what had been Sky's exclusive territory in 2013 and the satellite giant could see its dominance eroded further amid reports of bids from America's Discovery Network and Qatar's beIN Sports.
After a 77 per cent explosion in the value of the rights three years ago, a further 50 per cent increase has been predicted by British analysts.
That has brought the symbolic £4 billion threshold into view, to which must be added over £2 billion from overseas rights-holders.
When the rights were last up for grabs in 2012, Sky won five of the seven lots at a cost of £2.3 billion.
The bidding process ensures that no single channel can broadcast more than 75 per cent of the 168 matches under auction.
Experts believe Sky will retain the rights to 126 matches, with BT hoovering up the remaining 42.
However, any such arrangement could fall to pieces if a third party enters the dance.
The sale price per match, which was already as high as £4.28 million prior to 2013, is expected to rise from £6.53 million to around £8 million.
The figures are a world away from the fee of £191 million paid in 1992 by Sky for the rights over a five-year period, at a time when the English top flight was not yet a global heavyweight.