The battle between Sky Sports and BT Sport has intensified after the initial set of Premier League fixtures were announced.
Sky will air David Moyes’ first game in charge of Manchester United, away against Swansea, as well as Jose Mourinho’s return to Chelsea and Manuel Pellegrini’s debut with Manchester City all over the first weekend of the season. BT Sport’s first game will be the first televised match of the entire season, with Liverpool playing Stoke at 12.45pm on 17 August.
The two broadcasters have announced their Premier League TV selections between 17 August and 1 December, and the battle between them has intensified with shots being taken on both sides.
Sky has highlighted that the now defunct Setanta used to have seven more live matches in the first broadcast selection than BT, which has 12, and alluded to the fact that the telco is front-loading its selection with many of the big teams, leaving games featuring newly promoted teams such as Cardiff, and the likes of West Bromwich Albion and Southampton until the second part of the season.
The Murdoch-backed operator has also pointed out that it will have shown all teams once by October 6 and twice by December 1 as part of its first 43 games.
Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports, said: “This is our biggest ever season of Premier League football. When you look at the opening fixtures in black and white, you can see that no other broadcaster comes close to the quality that we offer.”
However, BT has hit back with picks including Tottenham vs Chelsea, the Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool, and glamour fixtures such as Tottenham vs Manchester United and Newcastle vs Liverpool. The telco has also said that it has only used five of its first picks, leaving 13 remaining, countering claims that it has front-loaded its selections.
BT Sport director Simon Green said: “This is the first time in Premier League history that top pick matches have been shown anywhere other than on Sky, but Sky TV customers can easily add BT Sport by calling us. And if they have BT broadband they can get it for free.”