1992: BSkyB Buys TV Rights to England’s Premier League

The Football Association (FA) Premier League was formed in 1992 after executives of Football League First Division clubs decided to break away from the century-old league. A main reason behind the decision was for the clubs to collectively take advantage of a battle between media companies for the rights to live television broadcasts of matches.

As stakeholders and prospective rights holders negotiated and bid against each other, the Rupert Murdoch-controlled Sky Television and British Satellite Broadcasting created a merger, BSkyB. The rights eventually went to the Sky-led bid in a £304 million, five-year deal.

Rupert Murdoch understood the opportunity in taking what had been a world-renowned but rather local product and orienting it toward first, a larger domestic viewing audience and then, a global audience. As of this writing, English Premier League matches are watched in more than 200 nations, and a TV rights deal was valued at about £5 billion for three years.