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Premier League international rights: have we peaked yet?

The latest international TV rights deal for the Premier League let many commenters wonder if some people had lost their minds. Indeed, at $230m per season, the Chinese PPTV’s 2019-2022 deal is worth more than ten times its predecessor.

In absolute terms, even though this latest deal represents a significant amount of cash, it still values the rights at a “mere” 10% of the domestic rights paid out by Sky and BT, for a population that is 20 times larger.

When comparing these recent deals per capita, however, we see that Hong Kong, Singapore and Norway are getting much closer to UK levels than bigger countries such as China, the US and Brazil.

Of course, not all economies enjoy the same individual purchasing power. Using GDP as a proxy and comparing the yearly deals to the 2016 GDP, we see that Hong Kong, Singapore and Norway are still the territories most likely to plateau in their spending, while there is still room to grow in larger countries.

Through the GDP prism, USA falls to the last place of our sample, hinting that “soccer” is nowhere near displacing the NFL and its multi-billion annual rights as the one true football in the hearts of the American public.

Ultimately, the challenge for the Premier League remains to cement its place as the leading football league and increase its international reach. As more viewers around the world begin to follow Premier League clubs, international fan bases are still far from saturation and as such, the international rights deals are likely to continue to increase.