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Sky, BT stand to lose £1 billion in sport shut-down

"Negotiating pay cuts with players is as difficult as herding cats"

Sky and BT are expected to lose almost £1 billion in revenue if sport remains shut down until August, according to Enders Analysis.

“Assuming a worst-case scenario of a four-month suspension of all sports coverage (British and foreign), with all sports subscribers pausing their contract and wholesale clients being allowed to follow suit, Sky would lose £700 million and BT £228 million in revenues,” said the report.

Sky has enabled pay-TV subscribers to “pause” their payments and ceased charging commercial clients such as pubs that carry Sky Sports. BT customers can choose to drop sports from their package.

In July, both companies are due to pay the Premier League the six-month licence fee for the first half of the 2020-21 season, totalling around £530 million. BT’s annual bill to UEFA for the Champions League rights is £394 million.

The report also suggested football players take a pay cut, since their wages account for 59 per cent of revenues across the Premier League.

“Football’s cost structure is pretty simple: most of the receipts flow into players’ pockets,” said Enders. “The best solution is collectively negotiated pay cuts, but negotiating pay cuts with players is as difficult as herding cats.”